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SocGen shares fall after deputy CEO unexpectedly leaves bank

PARIS, March 15 (Reuters) - Societe Generale shares fell on Thursday after the French bank announced the unexpected departure of its deputy chief executive Didier Valet.

SocGen shares were down 2.4 percent in early session trading, the worst performer on Paris' benchmark CAC-40 index and one of the worst stocks on the pan-European STOXX 600 index.

It also underperformed a 0.4 percent rise on the STOXX Europe 600 banks index.

Late on Wednesday, SocGen said Valet - its deputy CEO who was also in charge of its investment banking activities - was leaving "following a divergence of approaches regarding management of a specific legal matter."

"This announcement comes as a negative surprise as Didier Valet was well regarded and the market did not expect top management changes on litigation cases that should be adequately provisioned," wrote JP Morgan analysts, who kept a "neutral" rating on SocGen shares.

SocGen did not give any more details in its statement about the legal matter and said Valet resigned in order to preserve the bank's "general interests."

The "divergence of approaches" related to investigations over the suspected rigging of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), a key interest rate used in contracts worth trillions of dollars globally, a source familiar with the matter said. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Maya Nikolaeva )