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Nov 23, 2018
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Decathlon names Fabien Derville as new chairman of the Board

Nov 23, 2018

Decathlon, which reported 11 billion euros in revenues last year, is welcoming a new chairman of the Board. Following the departure of Matthieu Leclercq from the role in stormy circumstances this summer, Fabien Derville has been named as his successor by the Leclercq and Mulliez families, the company's principal stakeholders.

The company's latest Parisian address, on boulevard Saint-Germain. - Decathlon/Facebook

Indeed, as the son of Eric Derville and Jeanette Mulliez, 56-year-old Fabien Derville is a member of Northern France's famous Mulliez clan, and has built his career through the different distribution arms of the Association Familiale Mulliez. He has previously held managerial posts at Leroy Merlin and Norauto, and has until now been serving as chairman of the Board at Movibia, a group which brings together companies such as Norauto and Midas, among others. His appointment at Decathlon is effective as of 4 December. "Fabien Derville knows the company very well, having been a Board member under Decathlon founder Michel Leclercq," explains a press release from the company, which also described Derville as a cycling fan. 

Matthieu Leclercq, Michel Lerclercq's son, stepped down from his position at the head of the company's Board of Directors, which he had held since 2012, in tense circumstances in July. A number of different media outlets reported that a crisis was paralysing the company. "In the last 18 months, I was not free to choose my board members and, after [the group’s] negative performance earlier this year, the relationship with our stakeholders’ representatives deteriorated," Leclercq said in a letter addressed to the retail chain's top management.

Although it's international business is healthy, (revenues increased 13.4% in 2017, while comps were up 4%), Decathlon, which operates 1,352 points of sale in 39 countries, is a little more sluggish on the French market, where comps only increased 1% last year. The power dynamics between Decathlon's own private labels and big-name international brands in store is reportedly a current point of contention among the company's management. However, the sports retail giant is being rather secretive about its plans for the future for the moment, as is its new chairman. 

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