London Stock Exchange chief departs immediately

 29 Nov 2017 - 11:09

London Stock Exchange chief departs immediately
The LSEG announced last month that Rolet would leave by the end of 2018. (AFP Photo/LEON NEAL).

AFP

London: London Stock Exchange chief executive Xavier Rolet has left his post, the group said Wednesday, bringing forward a planned departure amid talk that he had been forced to step down.

"London Stock Exchange Group plc announces that, at the board's request, Xavier Rolet has agreed to step down as CEO with immediate effect," a statement said.

Chief Financial Officer David Warren has been appointed interim chief executive and will carry out both roles until a successor to Rolet is found, LSEG said, adding that chairman Donald Brydon will step down in 2019.

LSEG, which also owns the Milan stock exchange, last month announced that French national Rolet, who took over in 2009, would leave by the end of 2018. 

"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," Rolet said in Wednesday's statement. 

"I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight and a half years," he added.

Since the October announcement, activist investor The Children's Investment Fund, questioned whether Rolet chose to leave or was pushed out by a board of directors amid reported concerns over his management style.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney on Tuesday called for clarity on the contested departure and suggested his exit should go ahead, when asked by a reporter about the matter.

Under Rolet's stewardship, the company's market value has rocketed in value. 

It has bought US asset manager Russell to diversify and boost its business in the United States, in addition to purchasing LCH.Clearnet, the British clearing house.

But also on his watch, the LSEG failed in separate attempts to merge with the Toronto stock exchange and earlier this year with Germany's Deutsche Boerse.

The EU in March blocked a proposed blockbuster tie-up of the London and Frankfurt stock markets owing to competition concerns and fallout from Brexit.

- 'Continue to prosper' -

"The board is confident LSEG will continue to prosper with David Warren as interim CEO and the existing strong management team," Brydon said. 

"We acknowledge, as I said last month, Xavier's immense, indeed transformative, contribution to the business," he added.

Rolet recently warned that more British firms would move business to EU countries should Britain fail to hammer out a post-Brexit transition deal by the end of the year.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has backed a two-year transition period to ease the impact on the UK economy, but she is beset by divisions within her own Conservative party and talks with Brussels are stalled over the size of the country's exit bill.

Rolet became chief executive of LSEG in May 2009, replacing Dutchwoman Clara Furse who had begun the process of steering the group through the global financial crisis.

He has spent almost 35 years working for a number of major financial institutions. And prior to joining LSEG, Rolet headed the French operations of Lehman Brothers shortly before the collapse of US investment group that spread havoc through the world's financial system.