French supermarket chain Carrefour has appointed Thierry Garnier as executive director of China and Taiwan. Garnier was executive director for growth markets until a musical chairs scene at the top of the world’s second largest supermarket chain gave that role to Pierre Bouchut.
Bouchut punished for Brazil failure
Earlier this month, Bouchut had to leave his post of Carrefour CFO after failing to secure the takeover of Brazilian Grupo Pão de Açúcar. Pierre-Jean Sivignon (former Philips CFO and vice president) took over that post and Bouchut was demoted to director of growth markets, replacing Garnier. The chain then announced it would “find a suitable position for Garnier” – which turns out to be in China.
Garnier, 45 years old, has risen through the ranks of the Carrefour directors since 2008, when he became managing director international, before becoming executive director of “South East Asia, European countries, India and International Partnerships.” Since 2010 he has been executive director for growth markets, a position he will hold until April 2012. For Eric Legros, the man he will be replacing, a new function will be created: that of Executive Director Group Merchandise.
A kingdom of 245 hypermarkets
Present in China since 1995, Carrefour currently owns 185 hypermarkets. Last year, it strengthened its position in China by acquiring a majority of Baolongcang, a chain of 11 hypermarkets in Hebei province near Peking. Much like in the rest of the world, Carrefour has to look up to see rivals Walmart, who have near 200 hypermarkets and a new discount chain to serve the poorer rural population.
In Garnier’s other country, Taiwan, Carrefour’s network consists of 60 hypermarkets and 3 supermarkets.