DIY chain operator Kingfisher has recruited controversial French retailer Daniel Bernard as non-executive deputy chairman.

The 60-year-old former chairman and chief executive of Paris-based Carrefour, the world's second biggest retailer, is at the centre of a row in France over the £27.5 million golden handshake he received when he left in February.

The pay-off, equivalent to more than 1,000 times the annual pay of a Carrefour check-out operator, sparked calls for a change in French law to allow shareholders the power to block exorbitant payoffs to executives.

Mr Bernard was ousted in February during an investors' revolt over slumps in Carrefour's performance and share price.

Kingfisher, which owns B&Q in Britain, Castorama and Brico Depot in France, and other operations around the world, said Mr Bernard had helped to develop Carrefour into a global retail group with more than 10,000 outlets in 30 countries.

Before joining the group in 1992 he had been chief operating officer at German international retailer Metro.

"He brings a wealth of retailing and management experience from two of the world's largest retail groups," Peter Jackson, who will take over from Sir Francis Mackay as chairman at Kingfisher at the AGM on May 24, said.

"His international background will be of particular benefit to Kingfisher."

Chief executive Gerry Murphy said: "Daniel Bernard is one of the world's outstanding international retailers and I am looking forward to working with him and Peter Jackson as

we continue to grow and develop our business around the world. Daniel's record in international retailing is second to none and I am certain he will make a uniquely valuable contribution to the Kingfisher board."

Underlying profits at Kingfisher last year dipped to £445.7 million from £661.4 million as result of rising costs and falling sales at B&Q.