Feb 19, 2016
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Retailer Vivarte changes CEO, shareholder cutting stake

Feb 19, 2016

French clothing retailer Vivarte said on Friday it had picked a new chief executive and that one of its main shareholder, investment fund GoldenTree Asset Management LLC, was looking to reduce its stake in the company.

Vivarte, owner of brands including Kookai, Naf Naf and Chevignon, said it had named Monoprix chief executive Stephane Macquaire to replace Richard Simonin, who led the troubled Vivarte through its restructuring as CEO since October 2014.

Stéphane Maquaire

Macquaire, 41, who will leave Monoprix, controlled by French retailer Casino, on May 8, will join Vivarte during the second quarter of 2016, the statement said.

"Richard Simonin put the group's recovery on the right track, putting out the most urgent fires. Today the investment funds-shareholders picked someone for the medium-term," a Vivarte spokesman said.

Following a 2014 restructuring, Vivarte is owned by a group led by investment funds Alcentra Ltd., Babson Capital Management LLC, Oaktree Capital Group LLC and GoldenTree Asset Management.

GoldenTree was looking to reduce its stake below a level where it would no longer be a reference shareholder nor hold a board seat, Vivarte's spokesman said. He would not say what GoldenTree's current stake was.

"The other three reference shareholders have started a process to find another reference shareholder," he said.

The spokesman denied that the changes were tied to strategic differences among shareholders.

Vivarte, which has faced falling sales and profits amid a stagnant economy and high unemployment, said its statement on Friday that the first months of its 2015/16 fiscal year starting Sept. 1, 2015 showed "improved results".

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