Blog: Dean BestWomen wearing beards protest at Carrefour AGM

Dean Best | 21 June 2011

There is likely to have been a sense of relief among Carrefour's senior executives this afternoon (21 June) after shareholders in the retailer backed its plan to spin off discount arm Dia. However, there were one or two surprises at the company's AGM in Paris today.

Some analysts had expected the proposal to spin off Dia to be approved, although the plan had proven so controversial, with some in the financial community questioning its merits and unions in opposition, that the result of a vote on the move was keenly watched.

In the end, 77% of shareholders voted in favour. That said, the AGM still saw union protests at the spin off and at other parts of Carrefour's "transformation" strategy, a spokesman for the retailer said.

And those protests were not the only ones. Inside the meeting, as Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson was about to speak, women's rights protestors wearing false beards took to the stage to criticise the lack of female representation on the company's board.

"Lars was pretty cool about it," a spokesman said, who pointed out that Olofsson then invited the activists to speak. "They made a speech and then they left," the spokesman said.

He added that other French companies perceived to have too few women in senior positions had also faced similar protests. "It's the French way," he said.


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