Banks: Société Générale will have a new boss next year

The current managing director of the bank, Frédéric Oudéa, will not seek a new mandate in May 2023. It was he who took the reins of the company after the resounding Jérôme Kerviel affair in 2008.

In the group since 1995, Frédéric Oudéa had been catapulted to the head of Société Générale in 2008 to replace the boss at the time, Daniel Bouton, after a loss close to five billion euros linked to transactions carried out by the young order broker Jérôme Kerviel. Frédéric Ouvéa, who has been at the helm of Société Générale for 14 years, said simply on Tuesday May 17 during the group’s general meeting: “I will not be a candidate for the renewal of my mandate, a decision taken with humility, a lot of emotion but also a lot of personal serenity”. No substantive explanation.

The selection process is initiated internally. The objective is to make the transition a success during the coming year. Frédéric Oudéa is one of the oldest bank bosses in Europe. He overcame nearly fifteen years of crises and the latest episode is the sale of the Russian subsidiary of Société Générale, Rosbank, which will cost the company three billion euros.

Does this announced departure foreshadow an evolution of the company? The question is that of the size of Société Générale in the face of competition. In 1999, the Credit Institutions Committee (a banking regulatory authority) opposed a raid that BNP wanted to carry out on Société Générale to create a three-way giant with Paribas. Since then, in the eyes of certain experts familiar with the matter, the last two bosses of the bank, Daniel Bouton and Frédéric Oudéa, practiced what is called in financial jargon the “stand-alone” ie autonomy with few partnerships concluded.

In other words: does the Société Générale today have the critical size to survive serenely in the face of competition? Is Frédéric Oudéa still the man for the job to lead a company that has reached a crossroads and which counts among its shareholders the American asset management fund BlackRock? For the time being, the big file in progress is the merger of the Societe Generale and Crédit du Nord networks.

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