Carrefour CEO steps up digital push, inks deal in China

The logo of Carrefour. (Reuters/Stephane Mahe)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Carrefour CEO steps up digital push, inks deal in China

PARIS: Carrefour’s new chief executive on Tuesday pledged to slash costs, step up investment in e-commerce in the face of competition from Amazon and to open up the capital of Carrefour China to local investors, as part of a plan to boost growth at the world’s second-largest retailer.
Alexandre Bompard, at the helm since July, faces the challenge of improving business in Carrefour’s core French market, where it has been losing market share to unlisted rival Leclerc.
He is also aiming to boost profitability and cash flow, and speeding up the company’s expansion into e-commerce, where Carrefour was late to invest..
Carrefour, Europe’s largest retailer and the second-biggest in the world behind Wal-Mart, will invest 2.8 billion euros ($3.43 billion) by 2022 to accelerate its online offer, while also cutting costs by 2 billion euros on a full year basis by 2020.
Carrefour, the largest private sector employer in France, said a voluntary redundancy plan would be offered to 2,400 employees at its head office in France.
Bompard unveiled the plan after Carrefour said last week that its 2017 operating profit could fall by 15 percent amid weak sales. This marked its second profit warning in six months.
($1 = 0.8165 euros)


‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

Updated 24 May 2018
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‘There is no free lunch’, Macron tells tech giant CEOs

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron told executives from the world’s biggest technology firms on Wednesday that he wanted innovation to be a driving force for the French economy, but also that they needed to contribute more to society.
The French leader paints himself as a champion of France’s plugged-in youth and wants to transform France into a “startup nation” that draws higher investments into technology and artificial intelligence. He is also spearheading efforts in Europe to have digital companies pay more tax at source.
Macron’s guest-list included Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, IBM’s Virginia Rometty, Intel Corp’s Brian Krzanich, Microsoft Corp’s Satya Nadella and a raft of other big hitters in the corporate world.
“There is no free lunch,” he quipped in English to the executives lined up on the steps of the Elysee Palace for a photo call at a lunch meeting. “So I want from you some commitments.”
As Macron spoke, IBM announced it would hire about 1,400 people in France over the next two years in the fields of blockchain and cloud computing.
Ride-hailing app Uber also said it planned to offer all its European drivers an upgraded version of the health insurance it already provides in France in a drive to attract independent workers and fend off criticism over their treatment.
Macron will hold one-on-one talks with Mark Zuckerberg on tax and data privacy on the sidelines of the Tech For Good summit — a day after the Facebook chief executive faced questions from European Union lawmakers.
Those talks will be frank, an Elysee official said ahead of the meeting. While Macron will be pitching France Inc, he will also push his case for a European Union tax on digital turnover and a tougher fight against both data piracy and fake news.
Zuckerberg on Tuesday sailed through a grilling from EU lawmakers about the social network’s data policies, apologizing to leaders of the European Parliament for a massive data leak but dodging numerous questions.
Macron told the executives that business needed to do more in tackling issues such as inequality and climate change.
“It is not possible just to have free riding on one side, when you make a good business,” the French president said.