Chief Information Officer, Asia Pacific

Technology is key to Societe Generale. Whether it’s building the best new digital services for our clients or reshaping operational and organizational models, the end user is always at the heart of our technological transformation. The Societe Generale IT & Digital teams offer great job opportunities against a backdrop of technological excellence. Jean-Baptiste Faivre, Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific, who leads the IT team to deliver a reliable IT environment for our clients and employees, shares  about his career journey at Societe Generale.

How did you get into IT at Societe Generale?

In 2001, I graduated from engineering school Polytech Nice Sophia in France with a Masters Degree in Applied Mathematics for Finance and Insurance. When I graduated, I wanted to be trained in investment banking to work on mathematical modelling for finance, eventually joining a team at Societe Generale focusing on this activity. As I would consider myself more of a mathematician, I joined the IT sector purely by accident. After joining the bank I learnt IT language to implement theoretical concepts. It was something I discovered that was very interesting. I also realized the IT department is a very important part of the bank’s operation.

Tell us about your career at Societe Generale

I’m a strong believer in steady progression, taking on new challenges and new roles every two to three years, particularly if that involves geographical mobility. Societe Generale has given me the opportunity to do so. I came to Hong Kong in 2007, where I took on the role of Head of IT Equity Derivatives Post Trade Support. In 2015 I moved to Tokyo where I took on the position of CIO for Japan. Moving to new countries and discovering new ways of working has strengthened my adaptability, which is key to work in any fast-changing environment. I was keen to take on a new challenge and in 2019, I was offered the role of regional CTO for Societe Generale Asia Pacific to lead the IT delivery in the region.

What skills are essential to work in IT at Societe Generale?

I would say soft skills are very important for IT, not just technical skills. In every organization, and certainly in Societe Generale, you have plenty of talented and technically skilled people but what makes the difference in the IT community is to know how to engage with your colleagues and work with them efficiently. 

As CTO, how do you manage your team and what is your management philosophy? 

Societe Generale is a people driven organization, empowerment and development are fundamental for me in building and managing a team. Open communication is equally as important so we can avoid misunderstanding, issues and extra work. Doing all these will help you get the best from the team, make them happy to come to work, which will ultimately result in delivering more value to the organization. 

How does Societe Generale create the environment for you to succeed in your role?

At Societe Generale I’m given the flexibility to see the broader scope of the company outside of my immediate remit, trying to lead initiatives across other departments to see how IT can influence the organisation as a whole. There are of course challenges to be faced, but it allows me to enact a broader reach of improvements beyond IT.