SocGen’s Top Trader Leaves in CEO’s Pivot Away From Markets

Societe Generale SA’s top trading executive is leaving the French bank as Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea shifts away from the volatile business in the wake of steep losses.

Global markets head Jean-François Grégoire will be replaced by Sylvain Cartier and Alexandre Fleury, who will jointly run the unit, the lender said in a statement on Tuesday. Cartier will keep his current responsibilities overseeing credit, fixed income and currencies trading, while Fleury will continue to be in charge of equities and equity derivatives.

SocGen’s Top Trader Leaves in CEO’s Pivot Away From Markets

Oudea said last month that he plans to rely less on trading following losses last year from complex derivatives that didn’t perform as expected when the pandemic upended markets. One of the longest-serving bank CEOs in Europe, and a staunch defender of the trading business until recently, Oudea has reshuffled top management in response to the losses, including ousting deputy CEO Severin Cabannes and promoting Slawomir Krupa to run the investment bank.

“This new management structure of the market division, tighter and under my direct supervision, will allow us to strengthen day-to-day cooperation, alignment and agility within Global Markets,” Krupa said in the statement.

SocGen fell 1.8% to 24.39 euros as of 12:45 p.m. in Paris trading and has gained about 43% this year.

SocGen’s Top Trader Leaves in CEO’s Pivot Away From Markets

The CEO now plans to focus the lender more on corporate banking and transaction banking in a move that mirrors shifts at other European banks, most recently at Deutsche Bank AG. SocGen’s revenue from the global markets business has steadily declined over recent years, from 5.9 billion euros in 2017 ($7 billion) to 5.2 billion euros in 2019. Last year, it slumped to 4.2 billion euros in the wake of the trading losses.

Although Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing has made transaction banking a key pillar of his four-year turnaround plan, Germany’s largest bank still remains heavily dependent on fixed-income trading as Sewing was forced to adjust his original plan, shifting back to investment banking to take advantage of the volatility caused by the pandemic. After years of decline, the CEO has stabilized the bank, allowing it to surpass SocGen by market value.

SocGen’s Top Trader Leaves in CEO’s Pivot Away From Markets

Cartier joined the bank as a trader in 1993 and took the helm of the fixed income business in 2019, just as the unit was undergoing a deep restructuring after a slump in sales. Prior to that, he was head of global markets in the Americas and worked across Asia in a variety of roles, including as regional head of the fixed income business in Hong Kong and head of emerging markets trading in Singapore.

Fleury spent a decade working for SocGen in the early 2000s, where he was based in Tokyo, New York and Paris. He rejoined the
bank back in 2018 to lead its equities trading unit after working at Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

SocGen last year suffered its first annual loss in more than three decades. It’s cutting 640 jobs, mostly in the investment bank, and seeks to lower costs in the markets unit by 450 million euros.

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