Baudouin Prot, Chairman of BNP Paribas, may be about to leave the French bank. As Ivor Bennett reports his apparent imminent departure follows an $8.9 billion U.S. fine this year for sanctions busting.
Reports of the imminent departure of the BNP Paribas Chairman aren't entirely unexpected. Many said Baudouin Prot should have gone months ago after the French bank was fined $8.9 billion for breaking U.S. sanctions. Dominic Elliott is from Reuters Breakingviews. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, DOMINIC ELLIOTT, SAYING: "We felt that he should have stepped down at the time to show that actually he understood this was a huge issue. He didn't. He is stepping down now a couple of months later, so I feel that's another reason why there should be a bit more change at the top to show that there is a new phase for BNP Paribas." It is reportedly Prot's decision to leave. His mandate as Chairman of what is now France's biggest bank was renewed earlier this year and it had been due to run until 2017. He's also been with the company for 30 years and masterminded the acquisitions of Paribas, Italy's BNL and Belgium's Fortis. But the man who played a key role in negotiating the U.S. fine is now tipped to be his successor. His successor is expected to be a man who played a key role in negotiating the US fine. Jean Lemierre has advised the bank since 2008 and went to college with Prot. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS BREAKINGVIEWS COLUMNIST, DOMINIC ELLIOTT, SAYING: ""If you had an Anglo-Saxon investor hat on you would probably think, has he got the necessary backbone [reporter: so the jury is still out?] I think he's got fantastic experience but has he got the right experience?" The sanction violations date back to 2002. No individuals have been charged but U.S. authorities are still investigating. Other European banks have been fined for similar actions. But BNP's was the biggest. Prot will be the second senior official to leave since the affair came to light earlier this year. The bank's Chief Operating Officer retired in June.