Daniel Bouton will step down as chief executive of Société Générale in May, although he'll stay on as chairman, the French bank announced Thursday. Bouton, 58, is taking the fall for the bank's failings in the rogue trading affair involving Jérôme Kerviel, a junior stock arbitrager who ultimately cost the bank $7.5 billion in net losses.
In the early afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 20, Daniel Bouton, the chairman and chief executive of the huge French bank Société Générale, was in his 35th-floor office preparing for a board meeting that evening when one of his lieutenants, Jean-Pierre Mustier, came to break some calamitous news. Mustier, Société Générale's head of investment banking, had already alerted him about a 31-year-old junior trader in the stock arbitrage department named Jérôme Kerviel who had been caught making big unhedged bets on European stock futures.
An interim report issued Wednesday by independent board members of the French bank Societe Generale has concluded that a trader working alone was responsible for amassing trading losses that exceeded $7.2 billion.
Societe Generale on Monday launched a heavily discounted €5.5 billion (around $8 billion) rights issue as it attempts to fill a capital gap the French bank says was caused by trader Jerome Kerviel, while also lifting its net profit forecast for 2007.
A French government report into the massive losses at Societe Generale says banks should have greater suspicion about employee fraud and do a better job of notifying the government when the issue arises.
Two weeks after the scandal first broke, we still don't know exactly how Jérôme Kerviel, a lowly 31-year-old trader on the arbitrage desk at French bank Société Générale managed to build a $72 billion position in European stock index futures.
Concerns over the trading carried out by Jerome Kerviel, the trader accused of causing a $7.2 billion loss at Societe Generale, were raised as early as last November, a British newspaper reported Tuesday.
French bank Societe Generale described Sunday how one of its traders allegedly carried out a $7.2 billion (€4.9 billion) fraud, how the loss came to light and what it is doing to ensure such a case does not recur.
The trader accused of making fraudulent transactions that cost French banking giant Societe Generale €4.9 billion ($7.2 billion) is being questioned in the case, the French national police said Saturday.