LSE chair faces new call to quit as boardroom row refuses to fade

An activist investor has refused to give up his campaign to oust the chair of the London Stock Exchange.

In one of the highest-profile boardroom battles in recent years, Sir Chris Hohn’s TCI fund management group is insisting on requisitioning a shareholder meeting next month to force out Donald Brydon, the City veteran who has chaired the exchange since 2015.

This is despite the LSE’s plea to the fund management group – which owns a 5% stake – to withdraw its request for a shareholder meeting after it announced boardroom changes on Wednesday.

The LSE said its chief executive, Xavier Rolet, would leave immediately – a year earlier than planned – and signalled a departure date for Brydon, saying he would not stand for re-election at the AGM in April 2019.

TCI, the Children’s Investment Fund Management, had been fighting against Rolet’s departure but on Thursday dropped efforts to reinstate him until 2021.

Hohn, though, in a letter to the LSE’s directors, said a shareholder meeting should still be called by 28 December to vote on Brydon’s position. “There is no change to our position on this,” said Hohn.

The row prompted the intervention of Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, whose remarks appear to have accelerated the departure of Rolet.

Carney had said on Tuesday that he was “mystified” by the continuing row over the chief executive’s position. The following day Rolet was gone.

“I can’t envisage a circumstance where a CEO stays beyond the agreed period. But it’s in the interest of all parties involved that clarity is provided as soon as possible,” Carney said.

Rolet had been chief executive of the LSE since May 2009 and had been planning to retire if a deal to merge the LSE with its German rival Deutsche Börse had been completed. The deal was blocked by the European commission in March, on the day the UK triggered article 50 and formally began its departure from the EU.