Rogue trader, euro zone crisis and war, Socgen’s CEO ends ‘bumpy’ ride at top


FRANKFURT/LONDON, May possibly 18 (Reuters) – Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) CEO Frederic Oudea, who navigated the French bank by a rogue buying and selling scandal and the euro zone crisis, will leave up coming year, ending a tumultuous 15 several years at the top.

The longest-serving chief govt of a main European bank, Oudea took demand at the height of the 2008 economical disaster as the bank grappled with the multi-billion-euro fallout of a rogue buying and selling scandal.

A scholar of France’s elite Polytechnique engineering college and of the National Administration School, whose graduates include things like French presidents Jacques Chirac and Emmanuel Macron, Oudea began his profession in the civil assistance ahead of getting to be just one of the country’s greatest-acknowledged bankers.

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He prepares to leave as the bank struggles with the aftermath of a pandemic and the financial uncertainty created by war in Ukraine.

“It is really been a very bumpy ride,” mentioned Jerome Legras of Axiom Alternative Investments, who claimed some investors were being annoyed by what they deem the bank’s modest progress.

In typical with lots of European friends, the share price of Societe Generale in no way recovered from the 2008 debt disaster and at about 24 euros ($25.24), is significantly less than fifty percent of its level when Oudea turned CEO.


Oudea became Societe Generale’s finance main in 2003 but extended played a secondary function to Jean-Pierre Mustier, then head of Socgen’s financial investment lender and considered the possible foreseeable future CEO.

The scandal in 2008 more than a 4.9 billion euro loss activated by trader Jerome Kerviel turned the tables in favour of Oudea, who became main government at the age of 44.

2009-2012 EUROZONE Disaster

The euro zone debt disaster strike French banking companies in specific since they had been heavily exposed to financial debt in Greece and other nations around the world at the periphery of the euro zone. This brought on speculation, including that the French governing administration could be compelled to nationalise lenders.

In 2011, as Greece struggled to cope with financial debt repayments, jitters swept by means of Europe over the foreseeable future of its financial institutions.

France and its lenders had been deemed vulnerable. A flurry of media experiences and speculation, like that Societe Generale even confronted collapse, rocked its shares, putting Oudea to his toughest exam.

Tension abated on the sector when Mario Draghi, who was European Central Lender president at the time, pledged to do “no matter what it normally takes” to back again the euro.

2015 Product sales

Oudea is credited with shoring up the bank’s money base, its weakness after the 2008 crisis, promoting some firms and paring back its Japanese Europe arm.

The sale of the bank’s stake in Amundi in a 2015 multi-billion-euro stock-marketplace listing granted Oudea a windfall. He afterwards marketed the trade-traded cash expert Lyxor to Amundi.

He built Boursorama the top rated French on the internet lender while reducing branches by a merger with the Credit score du Nord community.

Oudea’s arguably boldest go was at the start out of this year when Societe Generale’s auto leasing division ALD (ALDA.PA), which he floated in 2017, signed a 4.9 billion euros offer to acquire Dutch rival LeasePlan.

Even so, some remained underwhelmed by Oudea. “Buyers felt there was a absence of a distinct strategic target,” stated Legras.

The dangers from buying and selling continued to overshadow the financial institution. In early 2020, it posted a shock very first-quarter decline soon after a profits wipeout at its equity investing division after market volatility brought about by the pandemic.

The financial institution has because overhauled that division.


The lender paid $1.3 billion in penalties for wrongdoing, like bribing Libyan officers, an episode for which Oudea apologised.

In between 2004 and 2009, Socgen paid far more than $90 million in bribes by means of a Libyan broker to protected 14 investments by Libyan state-owned economical establishments, the U.S. Justice Department experienced said.


Last month, Socgen turned the first key Western bank to announce its departure from Russia, navigating a remarkably charged standoff concerning Russia and the European Union, which has been ratcheting up sanctions in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Socgen introduced it would provide its Rosbank (ROSB.MM) business to Interros Funds, a firm joined to Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin, composing off approximately 3.1 billion euros.

Socgen was a single of a handful of European banking institutions with a major presence in Russia and the sale was witnessed as a coup by investors despite the weighty price tag simply because it drew a line less than its involvement with Russia.


($1 = .9508 euros)

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Enhancing by Barbara Lewis

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