FRANCE- Crédit Agricole’s chairman Marc Bué has resigned, six months before his term was due to end. In his place the board has elected René Carron, chairman of the French bank’s holding company, SAS La Boétie, and of Fédération Nationale du Crédit Agricole (FNCA).

The news coincides with competitor BNP Paribas’ push to raise its stake in Crédit Lyonnais. Crédit Agricole had been in talks with the French government for several months regarding a partnership with Crédit Lyonnais, but had seemed reluctant to finalise a deal.

The government’s 10.9% stake was instead snapped up by BNP Paribas when it bid 2.2 billion euros at an auction last week. BNP Paribas further demonstrated its intentions to take control of Lyonnais by acquiring a 5.32% stake in the firm at the weekend, taking its total stake to 16.23%.

Carron is believed to be a strong supporter of a partnership with Lyonnais, and his appointment reflects a decision by Agricole to step up its bid for Lyonnais. Crédit Agricole currently has around a 10.5% stake in Lyonnais. Other important shareholder is AGF with around a 10% stake.