* Carrefour “in good hands” with Bompard -Plassat
* Bompard to take over as Chairman and CEO July 18
* Plassat confident on Carrefour’s future (Recasts with CEO comments at AGM, to Reuters)
By Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, June 15 (Reuters) - Carrefour boss Georges Plassat ended his five-year tenure on an optimistic note on Thursday, telling shareholders his turnaround strategy had put the world’s second-largest retailer on a growth path and that his successor would do well.
“Alexandre Bompard will take the reins on July 18. I am convinced he will do very well. I want to welcome him,” Plassat told the company’s annual shareholders meeting, to applause.
Referring to Bompard, who attended the meeting but did not address shareholders, Plassat told Reuters: “Carrefour is in goods hands.”
Last week, Carrefour confirmed it had chosen Bompard as its new chairman and chief executive to succeed Plassat, who has been at the helm since 2012.
Europe’s largest retailer had been searching since October for a successor to Plassat, 68, whose mandate as chairman and chief executive was due to expire in May 2018.
Investors want Carrefour’s new boss, who currently heads French retailer Fnac Darty, to boost the performance of the French hypermarkets, a task where others have struggled or failed, and to do more in terms of its digital businesses.
Since taking the reins, Plassat’s tenure saw signs of a recovery at Carrefour as he focused on price cuts, expanding into convenience shops and renovating stores.
Plassat, credited with saving Carrefour from a possible break-up, leaves a group which has progressed in most of Europe and in Brazil, its second-largest market, but has had a more sluggish performance in its biggest market which is France.
In March, Carrefour reported its first fall in operating profit since 2012, with the company’s performance hampered by its struggling French hypermarkets division.
“Carrefour has returned to growth. The figures are not stellar but they are good. The group can look to the future with much confidence,” Plassat told shareholders, to loud applause.
Shareholders also approved a second board seat for Peninsula, the family holding company of Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz, who is Carrefour’s third-largest shareholder.
Carrefour shares, which fell 14 percent last year, are up around 2 percent so far in 2017 - underperforming a 7 percent rise on France’s benchmark CAC-40 index. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)