Carrefour has denied that CEO Lars Olofsson is set to be replaced by Georges Plassat, the former head of the French retail giant’s operations in Spain.

French newspaper Le Figaro yesterday (24 November) published a story claiming that Plassat is being courted by major shareholders. The world’s second-largest retailer has issued a number of profit warnings this year, the latest stating that operating income could fall by 15-20% in 2011.

However, a statement from Carrefour said: “Following recurring rumours about the potential replacement of Carrefour’s CEO, the board of directors of the company formally denies all information published in the press on that subject.”

There has been much speculation over the top spot at Carrefour recently. On Monday Bloomberg cited sources that said major shareholders Groupe Arnault, the holding company of French billionaire Bernard Arnault, and US private-equity firm Colony Capital, plan to give Olofsson until the end of the year to turn around Carrefour’s business in France.

Last month, another Carrefour shareholder, US investment fund Knight Vinke Asset Management, urged the retailer to appoint an independent chairman and suggested it could have two CEOs.

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