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France/World economic crisis

Société Générale boss quits

Article published on the 2009-04-29 Latest update 2009-04-29 13:37 TU

Daniel Bouton in August 2007(Photo: Reuters)

Daniel Bouton in August 2007
(Photo: Reuters)

Daniel Bouton, chairman of French bank Société Générale announced on Wednesday that he would quit the troubled French company after admitting he has “certainly made errors”. His departure follows massive losses last year and the scandal over rogue trade Jérôme Kerviel.

Bouton said on Wednesday that he would leave the bank in order to prevent further damage to the business.

“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,” he said in a statement.

The Paris-born banker, who joined Société Générale in 1991, will be leaving the organisation next month. He said he would not be receiving any special payoff.

Société Générale made huge losses last year following a rogue trading scandal which is being blamed on Jérôme Kerviel, who awaits trial.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, called for Bouton to take responsibility for the 4.9 billion euros loss, but he stayed on after votes of confidence by Société Générale’s board of directors.

The bank, which was founded on 4 May 1864 following a decree signed by Napoleon III, is France’s third largest bank, and despite the massive losses, it still managed to turn a profit of two billion euros in 2008.

Bouton served at the French Ministry of Finance before working his way up at Société Générale. He said he thinks the bank will pull through the world economic crisis.

“In this current economic and financial storm, you must focus and unite,” said Bouton. “I have confidence in the future of Société Générale."

It has been reported that Bouton was set to receive a pension of 730,000 euros a year as part of his original retirement plan, which was intended to begin in 2011.