Daniel Bouton, the chairman of Societe Generale whose reputation was hit by a trading scandal at the bank, said on Wednesday he would resign in the wake of repeated criticism over his performance.
I have decided to put an end to my mandate as chairman of the board of directors of Societe Generale as of May 6. The board will elect a new chairman at its meeting on that same day, Bouton said in a statement.
Bouton was dealt a blow in January 2008 when SocGen unveiled 4.9 billion euros ($6.4 billion) of losses caused by unauthorized trades conducted by Jerome Kerviel, a former junior trader at the French bank.
Bouton previously held the joint role of chief executive and chairman but public outcry over the Kerviel scandal led him to step down from the chief executive position last year.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy criticized Bouton over the Kerviel affair and Sarkozy's administration again attacked the bank last month over executive pay packages.
In March, SocGen's top managers decided to give up stock options following public criticism over the fact that money received from the French state to help it through the financial crisis could be used to remunerate executives.
In his resignation statement, Bouton said repeated public criticism had influenced his decision to quit.
The repeated attacks against me personally in France for the past fifteen months affect me, but most of all, they risk harming the bank and its 163,000 employees, he said.
Bouton had been a staunch defender of SocGen's independence.
In 1999, he helped repel a takeover bid by cross-town rival BNP Paribas and when the bank again became vulnerable to a possible bid in the wake of the Kerviel debacle, Bouton reiterated SocGen's desire to see off any predators.
SocGen shares fell 2.3 percent to 36.11 euros on Tuesday, valuing the bank at around 21 billion euros.
($1 = .7683 Euro)
(Editing by Anshuman Daga, John Stonestreet)