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SocGen Reshuffles Exec Team After Fourth-Quarter Loss

Frederic Oudea
Antoine Antoniol | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Frederic Oudea

French bank Societe Generale has named a new chief financial officer and reshuffled its management team after swinging to a loss in the fourth quarter on the back of a weak euro zone economy and one-off charges.

France's No. 2 listed bank said Philippe Heim would replace finance chief Bertrand Badre - who is stepping down to join the World Bank after only a year in the job - and Jacques Ripoll, the head of its GIMS asset-gathering division, was leaving the group, as Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The bank pledged to cut costs over the next three years with its new team and a revamped structure, without giving details.

Like most banks across Europe, SocGen is under pressure to rethink its business model to boost profits in a post-crisis world of tougher regulation, whipsaw financial markets and government budget cuts across the continent.

SocGen racked up a quarterly net loss of 476 million euros ($641 million) at the end of 2012, it said on Wednesday, compared with a net profit of 100 million for the same period a year earlier.

Analysts had been expecting a loss closer to 237 million euros, according to a Reuters poll of eight analyst estimates.

The bank blamed "significant" one-off quarterly charges, which it had flagged last month as accounting losses on the value of its own debt and a goodwill write down for its Newedge brokerage joint venture co-owned with Credit Agricole.

It also warned of the weak economic backdrop in Europe, citing rising loan-loss provisions at its French and Romanian operations, and said Russian unit Rosbank had lost money in 2012.

The bank will pay a dividend of 0.45 euros per share, having reached the end of a year-long drive to beef up its balance sheet by selling assets, cutting costs and laying off staff.

SocGen also said it had taken a legal provision of 300 million euros.

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