The head of the London Stock Exchange Group is stepping down immediately – a day after the Bank of England governor called for clarity amid a boardroom wrangle over his future.
Xavier Rolet, who had been due to leave by the end of next year, said he had been asked by the board to bring forward his departure after “unwelcome publicity” following the announcement last month of plans for his exit.
The plans had sparked objections from an activist investor, The Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI), that wanted him to stay and was instead calling for chairman Donald Brydon to go.
On Tuesday, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said he was “mystified” by the dispute and said it was “in the interest of all parties that clarity is provided as soon as possible”.
Just 24 hours later, Mr Rolet has gone and the LSE group also said Mr Brydon would not be standing for re-election at its annual general meeting in 2019 as the group seeks “a new team at the helm to steer the future progress of the company”.
Finance director David Warren has been asked to step in as interim chief executive until a successor to Mr Rolet is appointed.
Mr 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 CEO with immediate effect.
“I will not be returning to the office of CEO or director under any circumstances.
“I am proud of what we have achieved during the past eight and a half years.”
Mr Brydon reiterated his tribute to Mr Rolet’s “immense – indeed transformative – contribution to the business” and said the company would “continue to prosper” under its interim boss Mr Warren.
TCI, which owns more than 5% of the LSE, had demanded a shareholder vote calling for the removal of Mr Brydon and for Mr Rolet to stay on until 2021.
The group said that in the light of Mr Rolet’s immediate departure it had asked for the investor to withdraw the demand.
Mr Carney was asked about the boardroom row at LSE at a press conference on Tuesday after the publication of the Bank of England’s stress test results and Financial Stability Report.
He said he was “a bit mystified by the debate”, adding: “I can’t envision a circumstance where the CEO stays on beyond the agreed period.
“So I think it’s in the interest of all parties involved that clarity is provided as soon as possible.”