June 7, 2018 / 9:33 AM / a year ago

Top French banks appoint graduate school contemporaries of Macron

The logo of the French bank Societe Generale is seen in front of the bank's headquarters building at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France, April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s biggest banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale have appointed to senior posts former graduate school contemporaries of President Emmanuel Macron, suggesting the institutions want to keep close ties with the political establishment.

On Thursday, France’s Societe Generale named as its new group head of strategy Sebastien Proto, a former Rothschild & Cie managing partner who graduated from France’s elite administrative school ENA in 2004, alongside Macron.

Proto previously worked in the French government as chief of staff to budget and labour ministers during the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy.

Marguerite Berard-Andrieu, who was also attended ENA in the same year as Macron was appointed earlier this year by BNP Paribas to oversee the bank’s French retail banking operations.

Berard-Andrieu came first in the final 2004 ENA ranking that decides which prestigious government department a graduate joins after school. Proto was second in that year and Emmanuel Macron the fifth, according to Le Monde newspaper.

Many top French politicians and company executives have graduated from the Ecole National d’Administration (ENA) college, which trains top public servants. Students attend ENA after their university education.

French banks, unlike their European rivals, have vowed in the past few years to hang on to a broad array of businesses and even grow market share - a strategy supported by the political establishment who believe France needs to punch above its weight in global financial services.

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Edmund Blair

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