* Darty names BUT's Regis Schultz as new CEO
* Schultz to join Darty on May 1
* Schultz annual salary 500,000 pounds, less than
* To receive award of shares equivalent to salary
* Shares flat
By James Davey and Karen Rebelo
LONDON/BANGALORE, Feb 1 Europe's No. 3
electrical goods retailer, Darty, named a new CEO on
Friday and gave him 500,000 pounds ($792,700) in shares as a
welcome gift, a move that could irritate investors who rebelled
against the firm's executive pay last year.
Regis Schultz, 44, will join on May 1 from French furniture
and electricals chain BUT, where he has been CEO since 2008. He
is also a former chief operating officer of Kingfisher's
do-it-yourself business B&Q.
Darty said the one-off award of stock equivalent to
Schultz's basic salary was to compensate him for losing a bonus
and incentives he would have received at BUT. The shares will
vest in full after three years, subject to Darty's share price
Many investors frown on socalled "golden hellos", arguing
that compensating directors for incentive awards they might have
had at a previous employer undermines the concept of schemes put
in place to retain employment. It also argues they reward
executives for jobs they have not yet done.
Schultz will steer a turnaround plan at Darty as it battles
weak economies and intense competition from online retailers.
The plan, outlined in December, will see the firm focus on
its profitable core businesses in France, Belgium and the
Netherlands and try to eliminate losses at non-core businesses
in Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Schultz, who as a youth was ranked as the 16th best tennis
player in France, will succeed Dominic Platt, Darty's finance
director who had acted as interim CEO since Thierry
Falque-Pierrotin stepped down in December.
Falque-Pierrotin's departure was prompted by an investor
rebellion over executive pay that saw more than half of Darty's
shareholders vote against the firm's pay report.
A quarter of Darty's equity is owned by activist investor
Though Schultz's basic annual salary is less than
Falque-Pierrotin's 1.04 million euros, he will be eligible for a
yearly cash bonus of up to 125 percent of salary.
Shares in Darty, up 41 percent over the last six months,
were unchanged at 60.6 pence in late-morning trade, valuing the
business at 319 million pounds.
Last February the group, formerly known as Kesa, sold its
Comet business in Britain to private investment firm OpCapita.
Comet has since closed down. In November, Darty sold its Italian
Darty also said Bruno Cremel would step down as managing
director of Darty France, the firm's main business, "by mutual
agreement" at the end of May.