SocGen picks investment bank boss Krupa as next CEO By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Societe Generale Private Banking logo is seen at an office building in Zurich, Switzerland March 25, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

By Silvia Aloisi

PARIS (Reuters) – Third French bank, Societe Generale (EPA:), said Friday that investment banking boss Slawomir Krupa had been chosen by the board to become its next chief executive, succeeding veteran banker Frederic Oudea, who is due to step down next year. next.

The bank said in a statement that the board unanimously chose Krupa after a selection process that included internal and external candidates.

“He has a perfect knowledge of our bank, as well as the challenges that await him; he has demonstrated his ability to lead Societe Generale, a major European bank,” said the bank’s president, Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, in the press release. .

Krupa will lead Societe Generale amid global recession risks and a crippling European energy crisis.

Bini Smaghi said his first mission would be to carry out the big changes initiated by his predecessor, including the merger of SocGen’s retail banking networks, the expansion of the bank’s car leasing business and the growth of his bank. online Boursorama.

He has been with SocGen since 1996, longer than any of his rivals for the job. His last role, since January 2021, was that of Head of Global Banking and Investor Solutions.

He joined SocGen as an inspector and rose through the ranks, with jobs in Europe and the United States. From 2016 to 2021, he led SocGen’s Americas unit.

Krupa had been seen as a leading candidate for the job alongside retail banking director Sebastien Proto after the surprise announcement in May of Oudea’s departure.

Oudea is one of the longest-serving CEOs in European banking, having led SocGen for 14 years.

Like its European rivals, SocGen has also struggled to regain profitability since the 2008 financial crisis. Its shares have more than halved since then, and it now trades at just 0.4 times its book value – below its national rival BNP.

Under Oudea’s leadership, SocGen streamlined its operations to increase returns and financial solvency, including selling operations in Central and Eastern Europe and refocusing its corporate and investment banking.

But he has also been plagued by a series of scandals, including a fraud by rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel which cost him 4.9 billion euros. The bank also paid $2.7 billion in fines to the United States, including for violating sanctions against Cuba and bribing Libyan officials.

Earlier this year, SocGen became the first major Western bank to announce its departure from Russia, leading to a writedown of 3.1 billion euros. ($3 billion).

($1 = 1.0261 euros)

(Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel, writing by John O’Donnell and Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Grant McCool)

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