Daniel Bouton, Chairman of the Board of Directors of French investment bank Société Générale is stepping down on May 6. The Board will elect a new Chairman at its meeting on that same day. Bouton chaired the bank for ten years, posting large profits and growth during much of that time. Recently, his tenure became overshadowed by the Kerviel fraud. Bouton received regular criticism in the French press and this made an impact on his decision: “The repeated attacks against me personally in France for the past fifteen months affect me, but most of all, they risk harming the bank and its 163,000 employees,” he writes in an open letter from Paris. “In the present financial and economic storm, priority must go to unity. It is better for me to withdraw, proud of having led a wonderful company,” he adds. “Like any manager, I have certainly made mistakes, but the strategy adopted by Société Générale has made it one of the finest banks in the euro zone.” “I have faith in Société Générale’s future.” Bouton initially offered his resignation in January 2008 in the wake of news that Soc Gen had a rogue trader in its midst. That trader, Jérôme Kerviel, is linked to losses to the tune of $6.5bn. In the following 48 hours Bouton arranged a capital increase with the shareholders which successfully saved the bank.
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