Paribas chairman steps down

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ANDRE LEVY-LANG, the chairman of the French bank Paribas (pictured), stood down yesterday and, as expected, was replaced by BNP's head Michel Pebereau after a meeting to assess the results of BNP's takeover bid.

Paribas gave no further details of how a merger of the two banks will proceed after BNP won 65.05 per cent of Paribas' capital and 65.2 per cent of voting rights, thwarting its plans for a friendly two-way merger with Societe Generale.

It added that Societe Generale chief Daniel Bouton had resigned from the board of Paribas. Suspense is reaching a peak this week in France's long-running bank bid battle, with bank regulator CECEI due to announce on Friday whether BNP can keep its 37.15 percent stake in SocGen following a gruelling nine-hour meeting on Tuesday. BNP and Paribas' management committees are due to meet on Saturday to study how the merger of the two banks will proceed.