Societe Generale SA is France’s second largest banking group by market value and has wide-ranging operations worldwide. Its business groups are retail banking and specialized financial services, investment management, and corporate and investment banking. Societe Generale has been established in the U.S. since 1938. It has offices in nine cities where it employs approximately 2,400 professionals. More than 1,800 work in the firm’s corporate and investment-banking division in the U.S. Its offerings include corporate and investment banking, brokerage, sales and trading, structured finance and derivatives.
Societe Generale also owns Los Angeles-based The TCW Group Inc. While some of Societe Generale’s asset management operations have been merged with those of Credit Agricole SA, the fate of TCW remains unclear. TCW's chief investment officer was ousted in a clash over a possible management buyout. The split, which included the departure of several of the bond team, led to investor redemptions of more than $1 billion and a halt to the firm's participation in the Treasury's Public-Private Investment Program.
Societe Generale has had a rough ride the past few years, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chief Executive Frederic Oudea recently took on the role of chairman of the French bank's board of directors, replacing Daniel Bouton and shaking up senior ranks. Bouton resigned after more than 10 years at the helm of the French bank, which was shaken by a trading scandal. In 2008, the bank disclosed it had lost $6.44 billion at the hands of a low-level employee who Societe Generale alleges had engaged in unauthorized trading for nearly two years.
Societe Generale has received financial aid from the government amid the credit crisis. France is now its largest shareholder. The bank has a group dedicated to corporate and social responsibility. It sponsors a number of sporting events. Philanthropic endeavors support disadvantaged youth, the disabled and education.