Bouton was chief executive officer of the Paris-based bank but lost the position in January of 2008 when Société Générale was involved in a trading scandal that cost the bank over $7 billion. He announced his resignation as chairman in April of 2009 after personal attacks were made against him. 
Bouton began his career with the French Ministry of Finance in the Inspection of Finance department from 1973- 1978 and the Budget Department from 1978 - 1986. He joined Société Générale in 1991 and became chief executive officer in 1993. In 1997, he was elected chairman of the board.
Bouton graduated from Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA).