Darty Announces Chief of French Furniture BUT Chain to Be CEO

Darty Plc picked Regis Schultz to replace Chief Executive Officer Thierry Falque-Pierrotin, choosing a manager who revamped a furniture unit formerly owned by France’s biggest consumer-electronics retailer.

Schultz, a 44-year-old Frenchman, will begin in the position in May, according to a statement by the London-based company today.

“A new CEO on board will help to bring clarity to the future trading strategy of the group, and his experience in France will undoubtedly be useful in stabilizing Darty France,” Kate Calvert, an analyst at Seymour Pierce with a hold recommendation on the stock, said by e-mail.

Schultz became CEO of BUT SA in 2008, a year after Darty sold the retailer of furniture and electronics to a group of investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and OpCapita LLP for 550 million euros ($751 million). During his tenure, Schultz added digital terminals in stores and started a new store format, driving market share gains. He joins as Darty seeks to revive falling sales and profit.

“The board and I look forward to working with him on our plans to restore shareholder value by eliminating losses at our non-core businesses, increasing profitability in our core businesses and developing future growth initiatives,” Chairman Alan Parker said in the statement.

Shares Gain

Darty shares rose 1.2 percent at 9:41 a.m. in London trading, boosting this year’s gain to 7 percent.

Schultz will have a base salary of 500,000 pounds ($792,000). Falque-Pierrotin had a base salary of 1.03 million euros in the year through April 2012. Schultz also will be eligible for a bonus of as much as 125 percent of his base pay, half in cash and half in shares vesting in three years.

Darty is scaling back its unprofitable European businesses amid pressure from its largest shareholder, Knight Vinke Asset Management LLC, and has already agreed to a sale of its Italian business.

Schultz, who has also worked as chief operating officer of Kingfisher Plc’s U.K. home improvement chain B&Q, joins the chain with more than 500 stores in nine countries as it focuses more on online sales and increasing its service-led offering to compensate for the weakening market in France, its largest.

Bruno Cremel, managing director of Darty France, will step down by mutual agreement at the end of May, Darty said.

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