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Beleaguered French bank chief to resign

Societe Generale chairman Daniel Bouton is to resign from the French bank, saying yesterday that repeated attacks on him were a threat to the bank's health.

"Like any manager, I have certainly made mistakes," he said, "but the strategy adopted by Societe Generale has made it one of the finest banks in the euro zone.

"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," Bouton added. Bouton was Societe Generale's chief executive in January 2008 when the bank announced one of the world's largest trading scandals. He stepped down as CEO last May but had remained as chairman.

He will leave the bank at its annual meeting on May 6.

A firestorm erupted at the bank in late January 2008 after it announced losses of almost 5 billion euros (US$6.62 billion) in a scandal it blamed on unauthorized trades by Jerome Kerviel.

Kerviel maintains his superiors were aware of his risky transactions but looked the other way while he was earning big money for the bank, intervening only when he started to lose. The bank says Kerviel was acting alone.

Bouton continued to take heat more recently, when the bank disclosed he would benefit from a pension of 730,000 euros a year when he retires.


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