Friday, January 25, 2008
The $7 billion-man - a finance wizard
PARIS — On the elite trading floors here, where France’s brightest minds devise some of the most complex instruments in global finance, few people noticed Jérôme Kerviel.
He was lucky to be there at all. Many of his colleagues had been plucked from the prestigious Grandes Ecoles — the Harvards and M.I.T.’s of France — and wielded advanced degrees in math or engineering. Mr. Kerviel arrived from business school and started out shuffling paper in the back office.
But on Thursday the world came to know Mr. Kerviel, 31, as the most dangerous accused rogue trader ever, a young gambler who found himself sucked into a spiral of losses that left a $7.2 billion hole in Société Générale, one of France’s largest and most respected banks.
While Société Générale executives maintained that he had acted alone, many questioned how that was possible given the scope of the losses.
Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent"