Major LSE shareholder moves to block Xavier Rolet's departure

London Stock Exchange

One of the London Stock Exchange’s major shareholders has called an emergency meeting in a bid to block the surprise departure of its chief executive, Xavier Rolet, and oust its chairman instead.

The Children’s Investment Fund (TCI), which owns 5% of the LSE, requisitioned an emergency meeting calling for the removal of the LSE chairman, Donald Brydon, and an end to the search for a new chief executive.

It is also calling for Rolet to remain in office until 2021 on the same terms of employment, assuming he wants to do so.

In a letter to Brydon, the TCI founder, Sir Christopher Hohn, said Brydon had “failed to provide shareholders with any substantive basis for the removal of the chief executive”.

“Hiding behind confidentiality agreements denies shareholders the ability to review your actions and demonstrates the bad corporate governance over which you are presiding.”

Hohn will get the chance of a face-to-face showdown with directors after accepting an offer from the LSE to address a board meeting to be scheduled for next week.

The exchange escalates an extraordinary row that began when the LSE announced in October that Rolet would depart by the end of the year, but cited only succession planning as a reason he was leaving at the age of 57.

In previous correspondence between TCI and the LSE, the stock exchange has cited “succession planning” and “corporate governance” to explain Rolet’s departure, adding that it was bound by a confidentiality agreement with its chief executive of nine years.

Earlier this week, the LSE said Rolet would be “providing input into the process to identify his successor and is focussed on his role as chief executive until his successor is appointed”.

But Brydon said a “majority” of shareholders want Rolet to stay and should be able to hear from him in person about whether he wants to do so.

TCI’s shareholding of more than 5% gives it the right to call an emergency general meeting, but the date will be determined by the LSE.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Rob Davies, for The Guardian on Friday 10th November 2017 07.09 Europe/London

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