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BNP Paribas Chairman Prot May Leave in Coming Months, JDD Says

BNP Paribas Chairman Baudouin Prot
Baudouin Prot, chairman of BNP Paribas S.A., speaks at the Institute of International Finance Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 12, 2013. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg

BNP Paribas SA Chairman Baudouin Prot may leave in the next few months and be succeeded by Jean Lemierre, a senior adviser at the French bank, Le Journal du Dimanche reported, without saying where it got the information.

BNP Paribas last month posted its largest ever quarterly loss and replaced its compliance chief after a record fine for doing business with Sudan and other countries blacklisted by the U.S. BNP Paribas, based in Paris, was fined $8.97 billion after pleading guilty to criminal charges in the U.S. in June.

No decision has been taken on Prot’s possible departure and his responsibility hasn’t been questioned by U.S. authorities, JDD said yesterday. Prot, 63, was chief executive officer from 2003 to 2011.

Isabelle Wolff, a spokeswoman at BNP Paribas, declined to comment, referring to earlier remarks by CEO Jean-Laurent Bonnafe. “Prot is BNP Paribas’s chairman,” Bonnafe told Les Echos in an interview published last month. “He has vocation to stay so and he’s helping us every day. Even if the shock is as tough for him as for the rest of the group.”

The bank is reshuffling some management as it revamps controls. New York’s top banking regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, asked BNP to sever ties with 13 executives, including Georges Chodron de Courcel, co-chief operating officer in charge of corporate and investment banking. He left his position at the end of June, and plans to retire in September.

BNP was the second major European bank to plead guilty in a U.S. court this year. In May, Credit Suisse Group AG’s main banking subsidiary admitted to helping Americans hide money from the IRS in Swiss accounts and was fined $2.6 billion. BNP’s penalty dwarfed the combined $4.9 billion levied against 21 other banks for transactions tied to sanctioned countries since President Barack Obama took office.

Prosecutors said BNP Paribas processed almost $9 billion in banned transactions from 2004 to 2012. The U.S. also barred the bank from certain dollar-clearing operations next year. BNP Paribas is setting up “new robust compliance and control procedures,” including the creation of a New York team dedicated to ensuring adherence to sanctions, it has said.

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