The chairman of Societe Generale, the French bank whose reputation was hit by a massive trading scandal last year, said on Wednesday he would resign in the wake of repeated criticism over his performance.
In a statement, Daniel Bouton said: “Like any manager, I have certainly made mistakes” while he led France’s second largest bank, “but the strategy adopted by Societe Generale has made it one of the finest banks in the euro zone.” “The repeated attacks against me personally in France for the past 15 months affect me, but most of all, they risk harming the bank and its 163,000 employees,” Bouton added, saying it was “better for me to withdraw, proud of having led a wonderful company.” Bouton was Societe Generale’s chief executive in January 2008 when the bank announced one of the world’s largest trading scandals, which caused losses of more than $7.2 billion. He resigned as CEO last May but stayed on as chairman.
The bank attributed the losses to unauthorized trades by a single trader, Jerome Kerviel. However Kerviel insisted that his superiors were aware of his risky transactions. Bouton told the daily newspaper Le Figaro he would leave with no golden handshake and that a new president will be elected on May 6.