Until the events of January last year, Daniel Bouton had had a glittering career.

Born in April 1950, Mr Bouton gained a degree in political science and entered the elite Ecole National d’Administration.

He became the youngest ever member of the Inspection Générale des Finances, the exclusive corps of civil servants.

Mr Bouton ran the ministerial cabinet of Alain Juppé before joining SocGen in 1991.

“He took one of France’s smallest banks and turned it into a European powerhouse,” said one colleague yesterday.

During his tenure, SocGen gained an enviable reputation for hiring the brightest mathematicians to create a world-class equity derivatives business.

He failed in his attempt to buy Paribas, a French rival, but then succeeded in fending off a hostile bid from BNP, which instead prised Paribas out of his grasp. Widely regarded as aloof and arrogant, he lost some self-confidence after the rogue trading scandal.

His resignation was rejected by the board but he continued to stay after the successful €5.5bn ($7.3bn) rights issue, against the advice of some colleagues.

“I made a mistake – I should have refused those stock options,” he said on Wednesday of last month’s remuneration package.

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