London Stock Exchange has asked its chief executive Xavier Rolet to leave immediately – a year earlier than planned – in a bid to end a row with one of its shareholders over the departure.
The company said Rolet was stepping down “at the board’s request”, six weeks after it announced that he would leave by the end of 2018 and help with the appointment of his successor.
The original announcement on 19 October about Rolet’s departure triggered a backlash from the Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), which has a 5% stake in LSE and fought against Rolet’s departure. It called an emergency general meeting to reinstate Rolet – assuming he wanted to remain in the role – and to replace Donald Brydon as chairman.
LSE said on Wednesday that Brydon will not stand for re-election at the annual general meeting in April 2019, and has asked TCI to withdraw its request for a general meeting.
In a statement announcing his immediate departure, Rolet said: “Since the announcement of my future departure on 19 October, there has been a great deal of unwelcome publicity, which has not been helpful to the company.
“At the request of the board, I have agreed to step down as chief executive with immediate effect. I will not be returning to the office of chief executive or director under any circumstances. I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight-and-a-half years.”
It comes a day after Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, said he was “mystified” by the continuing row over the departure.
“I can’t envisage a circumstance where a chief executive stays beyond the agreed period. But it’s in the interest of all parties involved that clarity is provided as soon as possible,” he said, when asked for his views as he presented the results of the latest bank stress tests.
Carney said Rolet had “made an extraordinary contribution … [but] everything comes to an end”.
David Warren, LSE’s finance director, will take on the additional role of interim chief executive until a successor to Rolet is found.
LSE said in a statement: “If TCI does not withdraw its requisition in full, the board intends to publish a shareholder circular confirming among other things the date of the general meeting at which the proposed resolution or resolutions will be put. The circular would be published no later than 30 November 2017.”
Brydon added: “The board is confident London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) will continue to prosper with David Warren as interim chief executive and the existing strong management team. They have deep knowledge of [the] business and helped shape, lead and execute its strategies.
“They are already working towards LSEG’s current three-year financial targets. I look forward to working with David and his team. We acknowledge, as I said last month, Xavier’s immense – indeed transformative – contribution to the business.”
Rolet has been chief executive of LSE since May 2009, and the company said his 12-month notice period would start immediately and be spent on garden leave, during which time he will “be available to be consulted at the board’s discretion”.
He is entitled to his bonus for 2017, with a maximum bonus of 225% of his £800,000 salary, depending on whether he met performance targets. He will not be eligible for a bonus for 2018.
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