| MOSCOW, March 5
MOSCOW, March 5 A co-founder of Russia's
X5 Retail Group is leaving the company, extending a
turbulent spell that has also seen the departure of the CEO and
the firm's first ever quarterly like-for-like sales fall.
Oleg Vysotski, who co-founded X5's predecessor Pyaterochka
in 1999 and now heads up its discount format, told Reuters he
had resigned and would "wait and think about other projects in
the retail and services sector".
X5 confirmed Vysotski's resignation, adding that he had
agreed to oversee a transition period.
"The company has already identified internal and external
candidates and is conducting an exhaustive search to consider
the broadest pool of management talent for this position," the
firm said in a statement.
X5, Russia's biggest retailer by sales, has been mired in
management and performance issues since long-serving chief
executive Lev Khasis jumped ship to join U.S. giant Wal-Mart
His successor Andrei Gusev slashed the growth target for
last year and reported a 2 percent fall in like-for-like sales
for the fourth quarter, the company's first since its creation
"We view this announcement ... to be the most important
event in the row over top management changes in X5 after former
CEO Lev Khasis stepped down," VTB Capital analyst Maria Kolbina
said in a note.
"Coupled with several consecutive quarters of weak
fundamentals, this has created a lot of downbeat sentiment over
X5's investment case," she added.
A string of top managers have left X5 since Gusev replaced
Khasis, including the directors of supermarkets and
hypermarkets, the commercial director, the logistics director
and vice president in charge of private labels.
X5's shares are down 35 percent since Khasis resigned a year
ago, despite a near 16 percent rally in 2012 to date.
(Reporting by Natalia Ishchenko; Writing by Maria Kiselyova;
Editing by John Bowker and Will Waterman)