SocGen shakes up top brass after bad year

Tim Wallace
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FRENCH bank Société Générale stumbled to an unexpectedly large loss in the final quarter of 2012, financial figures showed yesterday, dragging down its full year results.

The group revealed a management reshuffle as it streamlines its five main business lines into three in an drive to cut costs.

SocGen lost €476m (£412m) in the final three months of the year compared with profit of €100m in the same period of 2011.

And on the year profits fell 67.5 per cent to €774m.

The bank managed to drag down operating expenses by 3.5 per cent, but operating income fell much more sharply at 22.4 per cent, resulting in the weaker figure. Part of the hit came from a €300m litigation impairment charge in the quarter, while a goodwill writedown on its NewEdge joint venture also came in at €390m.

Analysts fear more reforms are needed before the bank returns to health.

“Although management has dealt convincingly with concerns about weak capital adequacy and liquidity in 2012, SocGen is still struggling to convince investors that it can achieve improved returns,” said Espirito Santo’s Andrew Lim.

Deputy CFO Philippe Heim is replacing his outgoing boss Bertrand Badre, who is joining the World Bank.

William Kadouch-Chassing will take the deputy position, while Didier Haugel and Jean-Luc Parer will jointly lead the new international retail banking and financial services division.

Meanwhile investment management head Jacques Ripoll is leaving the bank.

SocGen’s shares dipped 3.57 per cent.