1. Money matters
November 29, 2017

Row at the top of LSE forces Xavier Rolet out early

Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), has been asked to leave his post a year earlier than planned amid a boardroom row.

Rolet “agreed to step down with immediate effect” at the board’s request, according to the stock exchange.

The 58-year-old Frenchman, who has been chief executive of the LSE since May 2009, was due to step down in 2018.

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.

Rolet’s departure plans triggered conflict at the LSE.

The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), one of the stock exchange’s biggest shareholders, demanded that Rolet should stay on in his role and chairman Donald Brydon should quit instead.

The TCI called an emergency general meeting to reinstate Rolet as chief executive.

The LSE group urged the TCI to withdraw its “requitisition in full” on Wednesday:

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.

The LSE’s statement follows comments from Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney who said on Tuesday that the in-fighting needed to be cleared up as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, the LSE also announced that Brydon, who faced a shareholder vote on whether to remove him from the board, will step down in 2019.

At that point it would be in shareholders’ interests to have a new team at the helm to steer the future progress of the company.

The departing chief executive will be paid his salary of £800,000 for 12 months of gardening leave.

Rolet, who owns the Chêne Bleu vineyard in Provence with his wife Nicole, suggested that his gardening leave would see him spending more time tasting wines.

He will also receive a bonus and shares under a range of incentive schemes that could add up to around £13m, depending on whether he met performance targets.

Rolet said on Wednesday that he was “proud of what we have achieved during the past eight and a half years”.

Under Rolet’s leadership, the LSE’s value has increased from £800m to nearly £14bn.

David Warren, the LSE’s chief finance director, will take over as interim chief executive until a successor to Rolet is announced.