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PARIS -- Carrefour SA, Europe's largest retailer, yesterday ousted its chairman and c.e.o., Daniel Bernard, and appointed Luc Vandevelde, a former Marks & Spencer chairman, as non-executive chairman, in an attempt to jump start a turnaround.
Vandevelde, 53, joined Carrefour's board last year as a representative of the biggest shareholder, the Halley family. Carrefour said in a statement that its finance director, Jose-Luis Duran, would be promoted to chief executive.
Bernard, 58, had run Carrefour since 1992 and held both jobs since 1998. He had been under pressure from shareholders to resign as chairman and c.e.o. for the past year, as Carrefour's French superstores lost business to E. Leclerc and discounters including Aldi Group. The superstore division accounts for 40 percent of Carrefour's earnings.
Under Bernard, Carrefour in 1999 paid 16.3 billion euros ($21 billion) for Promodes, the owner of Champion supermarkets and then France's second largest publicly traded food retailer. The merger made Carrefour the world's second-biggest retailer, behind Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Vandevelde was chief executive of Promodes before it was bought by Carrefour. Following the takeover, he left the company to become chairman of British retailer Marks & Spencer Plc.