Boardroom upheavals at Carrefour took an unexpected turn last night after the Halley family decided to cede its position as leading shareholder at the world’s second largest retailer.

It is understood that the family, which has a 13 per cent stake in the French group, said it would dissolve a shareholder pact that gives the family double voting rights.

According to a statement, it will also relinquish two of its three supervisory board seats. The two holding companies speak for 10 per cent of the shares held by the Halley family. The changes will take place after Carrefour’s annual meeting on April 15.

The move will pave the way for Blue Capital, jointly controlled by Bernard Arnault – chairman of luxury goods group LVMH – and private equity investor Colony Capital, to increase its say in the company’s future.

Last year, Blue Capital took a 9.1 per cent stake in Carrefour after a management shake-up that lead to the departure of Carrefour chairman Luc Vandevelde. The family giving up its double voting rights means Blue Capital’s voting rights will rise from 7.5 per cent to 8.5 per cent.

A Halley family spokesperson told the Financial Times the decision would give “more freedom” to family members in how they managed their holdings.

A Blue Capital spokesman confirmed the decision would leave Arnault and Colony Capital as the single largest shareholder.