PARIS (Reuters) - The French government called on Carrefour’s (CARR.PA) former chief executive to give up his full retirement package, a spokesman said on Sunday, saying he had not left Europe’s biggest retailer in a state which merited a generous payout.
Shareholders approved Georges Plassat’s 13 million euros payout by over 68 percent of votes cast at an annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday, triggering a wave of criticism from unions, employees’ federations and the finance minister.
Carrefour said on Saturday that Plassat, who stepped down in July 2017, had decided not to apply a clause in his departure package under which he would get nearly 4 million euros for committing not to join a competitor.
“When you’ve failed at the head of a company - and that’s the case - you don’t leave with 13 million euros. He gives up 4 million euros in a non-competition clause at the age 69, it’s a joke,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told France 3 television.
“He gets 500,000 euros in retirement a year, 40,000 euros a month, I think that’s enough and he should have given up his 13 million euro package, the whole thing, not just 4 million,” Griveaux added.
Since Plassat’s departure, his successor Alexandre Bompard has had to announce job cuts and store closures to boost performance while also launching an e-commerce offensive and seeking a Chinese partnership.
Griveaux said that Plassat’s package amounted to “thuggish behaviour” and urged the AFEP and Medef employers’ federations to ensure companies stuck to their executive pay guidelines.
The two federations said on Saturday they would revise their non-binding guidelines, which most large listed French companies currently follow.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas