SocGen boss defends joint chief executive and chairman roles

Societe Generale chief executive Frederic Oudea defended his role at an annual shareholder meeting yesterday and promised a “rebound” in 2010 as concerns persisted over the French bank’s prospects.

SocGen’s shares closed down 6.3 per cent in a sector-wide hammering.

Oudea, who took over both chairman and chief executive roles last year, hit back at investors who criticised his combined powers by saying he was reliant on the support of a “unified” and “skilled” management team.

Activist funds PhiTrust and Hermes were among those who called for separate chairman and chief executive positions at the shareholder meeting, though French law did not permit them to submit a proposal on the issue for a vote.