Carrefour SA, the world’s second-largest retailer, said Pierre-Jean Sivignon will replace Pierre Bouchut as chief financial officer as the company struggles to turn around its French business.
Sivignon, 54, will take the post starting Sept. 1, Carrefour said today in a statement. Bouchut will head the growth markets division, starting in November, replacing Thierry Garnier, who will take on an unspecified role.
Sivignon stepped down as CFO of Royal Philips Electronics NV earlier this year as a new chief executive officer came aboard. During his tenure there, the Dutch maker of lighting and DVD players increased its cash pile by more than a third as of October. Sivignon had worked to reduce the company’s fixed cost base by more than 700 million euros ($990 million). He also previously worked as CFO of car-parts maker Faurecia SA after a career at Schlumberger Ltd., an oil services company.
“He can bring valuable skills to the board, even though he has no retailing experience,” said analysts at Espirito Santo Retail in a note today. “International experience at Philips, Faurecia and Schlumberger could help to bring fresh thinking.” The analysts have a “sell” recommendation on the stock, citing a “struggling” business in western Europe.
Shares of Carrefour, based in Levallois-Perret near Paris, reversed earlier losses and gained as much as 31 cents, or 1.7 percent, to 18.88 euros today and were up 0.3 percent as of 10:10 a.m. local time, giving the company a market value of 12.6 billion euros. France’s CAC 40 Index fell 1 percent.
Under Chief Executive Officer Lars Olofsson, Carrefour is revamping its biggest stores and introducing lower prices and more own-label products in a bid to turn around its ailing domestic business, while scrambling for opportunities to grow in markets like Brazil. The company spun off its Dia hard-discount business last month.
The biggest French retailer on July 13 reported second-quarter sales that trailed analysts estimates and said first-half operating profit fell about 23 percent as it lost market share in France.
Bouchut joined Carrefour in 2009 from Schneider Electric.