* Alexandre Bompard seen as favourite - sources
* Plassat mandate due to expire in May 2018
* Carrefour holds AGM on June 15
By Pascale Denis and Dominique Vidalon
PARIS, May 18 Several external candidates are
still in the running for the top job at French retailer
Carrefour, with Fnac Darty Chief Executive
Alexandre Bompard seen as favourite, sources close to the matter
Europe's largest retailer has been searching since October
for a successor to Georges Plassat, 68, whose mandate as
chairman and chief executive expires in May 2018.
Plassat's preference is for an internal candidate to avoid
any abrupt change but key board members such as Brazilian tycoon
Abilio Diniz, Moulin family representative Philippe Houze and
LVMH head Bernard Arnault now favour an external
candidate to lead a strategy rethink, sources say.
"Several external candidates are still in the running," one
source said, cautioning that Carrefour had not yet made an offer
to any of the potential candidates.
Another source said the candidates included 44-year-old
Bompard and Alain Caparros, the 60-year-old outgoing chief
executive of German retailer REWE, though the Fnac Darty chief
was looking increasingly like the favourite.
Caparros, a French national who has been REWE CEO since
2006, has in the past ruled out moving to Carrefour.
Carrefour and its top shareholders declined to comment on
the search process. Fnac Darty, which holds its annual
shareholders meeting (AGM) on May 24, also declined comment.
The name of Plassat's successor is widely expected to be
known before June 15, when Carrefour holds its AGM. The
retailer's appointments committee is due to meet several times
before early June to take a decision.
There has been much speculation about who will succeed
Plassat, who took over in May 2012 and has undertaken steps to
improve the performance of Carrefour, which is the world's
second-largest retailer behind U.S. giant Wal-Mart.
Under Plassat, Carrefour has made progress in most of Europe
and Brazil, its second-largest market, but a more sluggish
performance in France, which accounts for 47 percent of sales
and 44 percent of operating profit, has weighed on its shares.
Sources say leading shareholders such the Moulin family,
Arnault and Diniz want someone who can address weak hypermarket
sales in France and accelerate the retailer's online expansion
in the face of competition from Amazon.
Bompard is well known in French business and media circles
for having won a fierce bidding war with Conforama for control
of Darty last year, and Fnac shares have nearly tripled in value
since its stock market listing in 2013.
Fnac Darty shareholders will vote on May 24 to grant Bompard
a total remuneration package of 13.8 million euros ($15.4
million) for 2016.
($1 = 0.8983 euros)
(Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and David Clarke)