Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF), the kingdom’s fifth largest bank by assets, said on Wednesday it had terminated the services of chief executive Patrice Couvegnes in coordination with the central bank and other regulatory bodies.
BSF did not elaborate on the reasons for the exit of Couvegnes, who also held the position of managing director, but a source familiar with the matter said his departure, with effect from Tuesday, was part of “normal procedure” after new shareholders took a stake in the bank.
France’s Credit Agricole agreed in September to sell about half its 31.1 per cent stake in BSF to billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding for SAR5.76bn.
Prince Alwaleed was among senior business people and officials detained this month under an anti-corruption purge spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Couvegnes could not be reached immediately by Reuters for comment. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, the central bank, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
BSF also said in a statement it had appointed Rayan bin Mohammed Fayez, the former head of Savola Group, Saudi Arabia’s largest food products company, as its new chief executive and managing director.
The source said the departure of Couvegnes, after more than six years in charge, was not linked to an announcement last month by the central bank that it was monitoring measures taken by the board of BSF to address “deficiencies” in governance.
BSF had said last month its board would appoint an independent team to investigate violations committed as a result of “excess powers granted to several employee incentive operations”.
Fayez, who previously worked at JP Morgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs in the kingdom and is a current board member of the Saudi Stock Exchange, according to his LinkedIn page, will take over as managing director and chief executive from February 18, 2018, BSF said.
It said board member and chairman of the audit committee Ammar Bin Abdul Wahid al-Khudairy had resigned from the membership of the audit committee and had been appointed as acting managing director immediately until Fayez took over.