OPERATIONS

Report: Carrefour CEO to take chairman reins

BY Staff Writer

Paris — The Carrefour SA board of directors on Tuesday approved a plan for its CEO Lars Olofsson to also assume the role of chairman. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Olofsson will take over as current chairman Amaury de Seze announced Tuesday that he would step down.

"The time has come to reunite the two functions," De Seze said. He will remain on Carrefour’s board.

Olofsson is one year into a three-year turnaround plan on which his job depends. One step of the transformation was completed at the shareholder meeting, when investors approved the spinoff of the Dia discount unit. Dia will be listed on the Madrid stock exchange on July 5, and each Carrefour investor will receive a Dia share for each Carrefour share.

Olofsson is also renovating the hypermarket chain in Europe and rolling out thousands of Carrefour-branded groceries.

De Seze said the board and management "will take our responsibility" if they don’t meet their targets in the next two years.

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Cheesecake Factory to use PeopleAnswers for pre-employment selection

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Dallas — Web-based hiring assessment provider PeopleAnswers said Tuesday that The Cheesecake Factory will use the PeopleAnswers HR solution in its 164 restaurants to pre-screen and select hourly staff.

The objective is to fill each position with individuals who will help maintain The Cheesecake Factory’s quality brand.

“Each Cheesecake Factory team member represents our brand, so the quality of hire is critical to our recruiting process and company growth,” said Claire Prager, director of talent selection, The Cheesecake Factory. “PeopleAnswers proved its benefits during a recent restaurant opening with a short and very productive opening process. The technology enables us to use a methodical — but customizable — approach to hire the most qualified candidates while saving significant time for our managers.”

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Survey: Global consumers increasingly anxious about the future

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Boston — A survey released Tuesday by the Boston Consulting Group found that a growing number of consumers around the world are growing more anxious about the future, and are planning to reduce or maintain — but not increase — their spending.

According to BCG’s 2011 global report on consumer sentiment, “Navigating the New Consumer Realities,” which polled more than 24,000 people around the world, U.S. consumers were slightly less apprehensive than last year — but only by 2%. U.K. consumers were 3% more apprehensive in 2011 than in 2010, and in Italy, apprehension skyrocketed by 26%. Even in China and India, apprehension was on the rise.

In the United States, 57% of respondents said they have been personally affected by the downturn — up 8 percentage points from last year. Europe saw a six percentage point increase.

In the United Kingdom, 53% of respondents believe the economy will worsen next year, which is making them reluctant to increase their spending.

Other findings included: Thirty-six percent of Chinese consumers and 19% of Indian consumers say they will increase their spending next year. And consumer optimism is higher in China and India than in the United States and Europe. But in spite of this, consumer sentiment in China and India is less optimistic than in the past. Thirty percent of Chinese consumers said they were anxious about the future, compared to 26% last year. Sixty-two percent of Indian consumers expressed anxiety about the future, up from 58% in 2010.

Older consumers are more confident (in the U.S., in spite of worries over retirement savings, only 38% over the age of 55 said they were anxious about the future, as opposed to 52% of all respondents). And contrary to marketing clichés, they are more open to technological innovation. Eighty percent of U.S. consumers over age 50 say they use the Internet.

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