Société Générale has named Slawomir Krupa as its next CEO, replacing Frédéric Oudéa. Krupa, who currently heads up the bank's investment-banking division, will take over next year. Oudéa has been at the helm of Société Générale for a number of years, steering it through several crises.
In 2021, Mr. Krupa was appointed to head the investment-bank business. He has extensive experience in the financial sector, having previously led the bank’s Americas’ business and worked on key market functions for Société Générale, including securitization and leveraged finance. Mr. Krupa is a highly qualified individual who is well-positioned to lead the bank’s investment-banking business.
Société Générale is a French lender that combines a large domestic retail bank with an international investment bank. In 2020, the company shrank its investment bank following trading losses during the pandemic, but has been on a more stable course recently.
Mr. Krupa will have plenty to worry about in the coming months, with inflation and an energy crisis hitting customers, volatile markets and a global economic slowdown.
The European Systemic Risk Board, a top European financial regulator, warned this week that the continent is facing severe risks to its financial stability and that banks should be on their toes.
Mr. Krupa was one of the leading candidates for the CEO job. His main competitor was Sébastien Proto, who heads group strategy at the bank. However, Mr. Proto is relatively new to the bank, having joined in 2018, whereas Mr. Krupa has spent most of his career at Société Générale.
Mr. Proto has impressive credentials: like French President Emmanuel Macron, he worked at the well-known investment bank Rothschild & Co. in Paris and graduated from the highly respected École Nationale d’Administration, which trains government officials. His strong connections in both the private sector and the government made him a very attractive candidate.
Mr. Krupa is extremely knowledgeable about our bank and the challenges it faces, said Lorenzo Bini Smaghi, the bank’s chairman.
Mr. Oudéa has been one of the longest-serving bank chiefs in the world, and his term is set to expire in May after 15 years as CEO. During his time at the helm, he oversaw the financial crisis of 2008 and Europe's sovereign-debt crisis in 2012. He also led several restructurings, most recently reducing the bank's significant exposure to Russia. To do this, the bank sold its operations there, taking a more than $3 billion hit to its income.
In 2020, the bank took trading losses in one of its specialties, creating and selling complex investment products. The bank designed products for clients that provided high returns during calm times, but that went sour during the market volatility triggered by the pandemic. The bank promised to cut back on risk-taking.
During Mr. Oudéa's tenure, the bank's share price struggled. It never regained its pre-financial crisis peak and its overall market value hovers around $16 billion, a fraction of what it was worth in the past and about a third of crosstown rival BNP Paribas.
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