Societe Generale chairman to quit

Societe Generale chairman to quit Paris  - Daniel Bouton, chairman of the French bank Societe Generale, was to quit following criticism over risky investments and massive losses, the Le Figaro newspaper said Wednesday.

Bouton said he handed in his resignation "to protect the bank," the paper reported. "I have become the target of incessant attacks that finally damage the company that I am very attached to," he said.

The bank's director general, Frederic Oudea, was to take over Bouton's position on May 6. Bouton stressed he would not receive any severance pay.

His resignation followed a trading scandal involving trader Jerome Kerviel, in which Societe Generale was forced to reveal losses of 4.9 million euros (6.4 billion dollars) last year, the largest speculation losses ever incurred by a single trader.

Bouton then was forced to hand over responsibility for the bank's day-to-day operations to Oudea but remained the bank's chairman.

Since Societe Generale announced in January that it incurred the losses after being forced to unwind about 50 billion euros of rogue deals made by Kerviel, the bank repeatedly made headlines over alleged losses worth billions of euros and being stuck with toxic assets.

Earlier this week, the bank denied press reports of possible losses of up to 10 billion euros after risky investments.

Bouton said he made "errors," in particular not rejecting the latest executive pay packages that included stock options, which he, however, still defended as a means to motivate staff through the crisis. (dpa)

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