Page last updated at 11:37 GMT, Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Carrefour ousts chief executive

Chinese shoppers
Carrefour has supermarkets across the world, including China

Carrefour, one of the world's largest retailers, has announced that it will replace its chief executive after a long-running battle with shareholders.

Swede Lars Olofsson, a top manager at Nestle, will replace Jose Luis Duran on 1 January next year.

Duran's position has been under threat since April, when the company's long-standing management structure was radically overhauled.

Shareholders have been unhappy with the company's performance and strategy.

Mr Olofsson is currently executive vice president of the Nestle group responsible for strategic business units, marketing and sales.

He has over 30 years of experience in consumer markets, Carrefour's board of directors said.

French billionaire Bernard Arnault and US private equity firm Colony Capital took a majority stake in the French supermarket giant in April.

The consortium, called Blue Capital, held different views to Mr Duran about how best to take the company forward.

It wanted to focus on increasing margins and profits rather than increasing sales volumes.

The decision "brings to an end several months of friction between Jose Luis Duran and the leading shareholder in Carrefour," said Christian Devismes at Credit Mutuel-CIC.

"It's not much of a surprise, it's been a long time that Jose Luis was under pressure," added Christopher Hogbin at Bernstein Research.

Carrefour shares have fallen 44% this year.

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