BNP Paribas picks new chief exec

City A.M. Reporter
BNP PARIBAS, France’s biggest listed bank, has unveiled a well-flagged handover to new chief executive Jean-Laurent Bonnafe in a move that promises a smooth transition.

Bonnafe, a trusted insider and long seen as the natural heir to current chief executive Baudouin Prot, will take the reins on 1 December. Prot will take the chairmanship from 69-year-old Michel Pebereau, whose retirement had been widely expected.

“Our new management will be able to offer BNP ... all the development plans it deserves,” said Bonnafe.

Bonnafe will inherit a bank that has emerged as a winner from the crisis but which is overwhelmingly exposed to mature Western markets and which faces tougher rules that will make banking a less profitable business.

There is little to suggest he will rock the boat and some analysts warn growth will be more challenging in future.

“Looking past 2011, we see very limited levers to grow earnings per share and wonder how BNP will deliver,” RBS analyst Jorge Mayo said.