Galeries Lafayette names Sandra Weber head of strategy and expansion
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left some department store groups’ certainties in tatters and, despite holding a strong position in France and having an international presence, the Galeries Lafayette group is no exception. Notably, the French group recently announced it is franchising out some of its branches outside Paris.
However, Galeries Lafayette, which also owns BHV Marais, La Redoute, Royal Quartz Paris, Louis Pion, Mauboussin and BazarChic, is clearly keen on broadening the scope of its strategic considerations.
The group led by Philippe Houzé has in fact announced that on August 31 it appointed Sandra Weber as head of strategy and expansion. She succeeds Olivier Bron, who earlier this year took over as general manager of department store chains Central and Robinson, owned by Thai retail group Central.
Weber is an expert in corporate finance and strategy, and between 2015 and 2019 she was the general counsel of Rallye SA, the Swiss retail group led by Jean-Charles Naouri that owns among others the Casino, Cdiscount and Monoprix chains. Weber's mission at Galeries Lafayette will be to “help the group and its subsidiaries define and implement their medium-term strategic vision, and identify growth drivers and development opportunities at a time when the retail sector is undergoing a profound transformation and customer behaviour is evolving,” the group stated in a press release.
Weber joined the Rallye group in 2008, after working for nearly eight years at Goldman Sachs, first as an analyst focusing on divestitures and acquisitions, especially in the consumer goods sector, and then as vice-president of the firm’s Paris office. At Casino, and then Rallye, she worked in corporate finance, first as chief of staff to the CEO and then as head of the financial division, notably dealing with the debt-repayment issues that have troubled the Swiss group in recent years. As member of Go Sport’s supervisory board, Weber was also involved in drawing up the strategy for the Courir and Go Sport retail chains, and in the legal and financial implementation of Go Sport’s sale. She was also involved in the disposal of shares for real estate company Mercyalis, and in the withdrawal of Casino and Go Sport from a number of overseas markets.
Weber’s knowledge of the distribution sector’s trends and corporate environment, and her divestiture and acquisition expertise, ought to enable the Galeries Lafayette group, owned by the Houzé family, to anticipate the main market transformations of the coming years, and to deploy the financial structure necessary to keep up with them.
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