Société Générale to axe 700 jobs in Paris and hundreds more in London and New York

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Société Générale to axe 700 jobs in Paris and hundreds more in London and New York

France's Société Générale will cull up to 700 positions in Paris after a rough first quarter, with hundreds more cuts expected in its offices in London and New York.

The cuts will begin as soon as this week, said Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the plans. The bank shocked investors with a profit warning last year, leading to a cost-cutting program to the tune of €500m euros, while the bank planned a review of unprofitable business units.

The bank intends to shift its focus to activities such as equity derivatives, scaling back its fixed-income, currencies and commodities business.

SocGen management is due to meet with union representatives to discuss a plan early next week, according to a source said. "The job cuts will be carried out through voluntary departures," a union representative said on Friday.

In the midst of the turbulence, at least one high-flying SocGen executive is leaving: Bruno Benoit, head of the key fixed income and currencies trading unit.

Markets tanked in December while volatility spiked, leading to losses throughout global trading floors. That tough environment persisted into the first quarter.

"SocGen has said it sees no near-term improvement in market conditions," Bloomberg wrote, adding that the bank's "global banking and investor solutions unit" has a staff of over 20,000.

SocGen deputy CEO Severin Cabannes, who oversees the corporate and investment banking unit which employs 18,000 people in 30 countries, said in February the restructuring plan would likely include job cuts, but he said it was too early to evaluate how many.

In February, the bank fired its head of trading, Frank Drouet, replacing him with Jean-Francois Gregoire, the deputy chief risk officer.

A bank spokesman declined to comment.