The Societe Generale of France said that Didier Valet, its deputy chief executive who is in charge of investment banking activities, was turning his back on the group “following a divergence of approaches regarding management of a specific legal matter.”
In its statement regarding the legal matter, the bank did not disclose further details and said that Valet stepped down in order to preserve the “general interests” of the bank.
A source who is familiar with the matter informed Reuters that the “divergence of approaches” that are related to the investigations regarding the alleged rigging of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), a key interest rate that is used in contracts that are worth trillions of dollars globally.
SocGen is one of the several banks to be caught up in investigations with regards to the rigging of Libor at the time of the global financial crisis. Last August, authorities in the United States charged two former managers of SocGen with taking part in a plot to manipulate the global Libor benchmark of the US dollar.
“It’s the biggest thing to happen in the group since the departure of Jean-Pierre Mustier,” stated an insider regarding the departure of Valet, referring to what happened in 2008 when the head of the investment bank during the time of the trading scandal of Jerome Kerviel, Mustier, quit. Mustier is currently CEO of Unicredit in Italy.
SocGen stated: “Didier Valet succeeded in transforming the corporate and investment banking activities, building a profitable and sustainable model.”
Valet is a close and long-time ally of Frederic Oudea, the chief executive. He started his career at SocGen in 2000 and served as the chief financial officer from 2008 to 2012. He had served at the head of investment banking activities since 2012.
Under Valet, the bank has worked on making the revenue of investment bank less volatile by raising the share of fixed income activities versus equities.
The bank said that his replacement would be announced shortly.