French to Ban Options, Bonuses at Firms with State Aid

March 26, 2009 ( - A senior aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a television reporter that the government will ban companies getting state aid from handing out stock options and executive bonuses.

Reuters reported that Claude Gueant, the secretary-general in Sarkozy’s Elysee Palace, told France 24 television that the government decided to intervene after French employers refused to draw up their own code of conduct.

“A decree will be issued next week to set conditions under which the distribution of stock options or other advantages like bonuses is forbidden for companies that have benefitted from state aid,” Gueant said, according to Reuters.

In an echo about U.S. reaction to bonuses at the AIG Insurance Group, Reuters said there was public outrage in France on word that executives at bank Societe Generale had awarded themselves hundreds of thousands of stock options despite having recently received state financing.