Sunday 25 August 2019

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney 'mystified' over London Stock Exchange leadership row

Bank of England governor Mark Carney
Bank of England governor Mark Carney

Holly Williams

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has said he is "mystified" by the spat over succession plans for London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet and has called for urgent clarity.

Presenting the bi-annual Financial Stability Report, Mr Carney said the Bank was keeping a close eye on the situation, but added that it was unlikely Mr Rolet would be able to continue as chief executive of the LSE Group past next year's departure date.

Activist investor and hedge fund The Children's Investment Fund Management (TCI), which owns more than 5% of the LSE, has ordered a shareholder vote for the removal of chairman Donald Brydon and to retain Mr Rolet until 2021.

TCI has accused Mr Brydon of pushing out Mr Rolet, who is currently expected to leave the firm next year.

Mr Carney said: "In some respects, I'm a bit mystified by the debate because we knew about the succession plan and stayed close to the situation.

"I can't envisage a circumstance where the CEO stays on beyond the agreed period and so I think it's in the interest of all parties involved that clarity is provided as soon as possible."

He hailed Mr Rolet's "extraordinary contribution" to the LSE over the nine years at the helm, but added that "everything comes to an end".

LSE announced last month that Mr Rolet would be standing down in 2018 after a tenure which has seen its stock market value soar from £800 million to nearly £14 billion.

But Christopher Hohn, investment manager of TCI, wrote to Mr Brydon, accusing him of offering poor explanations for Mr Rolet's departure and claiming that confidentiality agreements were barring full disclosure of his plans.

In an earlier letter to Mr Brydon from November 3, Mr Hohn argued that Mr Rolet had created "enormous value" through acquisitions and "excellent operational management".

The fund had been urging Mr Brydon to resign on his own terms, for Mr Rolet's contract to be extended and for the group to suspend the search for his successor.

Mr Rolet's tenure has seen LSE seal a string of acquisitions, although it was marred by the recent failed attempt at a £21 billion merger with German rival Deutsche Borse to create a European trading powerhouse after it was blocked by the European Commission in March.

This marked the third doomed attempt at a tie-up between the two companies after previous setbacks in 2000 and 2005.

PA Media

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