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London Stock Exchange shareholders have lost faith in chairman, says activist investor

An activist investor has claimed shareholders have “lost faith” in London Stock Exchange (LSE) chairman Donald Brydon as it released a damning dossier ahead of a crunch vote on his future.

Christopher Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Management (TCI) is pressing for the immediate removal of Mr Brydon, who it accuses of pushing out chief executive Xavier Rolet.

TCI, which owns more than 5 per cent of the LSE, has secured a shareholder vote to decide on Mr Brydon’s fate, but its bid to retain Mr Rolet until 2021 was ended when the Frenchman stood down last week.

Mr Rolet left after more than eight years in the role amid an increasingly bitter dispute that has dogged the exchange operator.

On Monday, TCI’s meeting document said Mr Brydon has “run a poor process with regards to CEO succession and shareholder engagement”, as well as accusing the LSE of dismissing a “world class CEO without providing any good reasons”.

TCI also said that Mr Brydon has a “long track record” of dismissing chief executives and it would be difficult to find someone of Mr Rolet’s calibre to serve under him.

Pre-empting the December 19 shareholder vote on whether to ditch the chairman, TCI added that LSE should begin the succession process “immediately” for Mr Brydon and named three non-executive directors who would be capable to take up the role on an interim basis.

They are David Nish, Stephen O’Connor and Mary Shapiro.

“Donald Brydon’s continuation as chairman until 2019 will be damaging”, TCI said.

The LSE confirmed last week that Mr Brydon will not stand for re-election in 2019, but this stopped short of meeting the TCI’s demands for his immediate removal.

The raging controversy at the LSE has even drawn comment from the Bank of England, with Governor Mark Carney earlier this week saying he was “mystified” by the tussle.

Mr Rolet’s departure comes after more than eight years in the top job, during which time the LSE has seen its stock market value soar from £800m to nearly £14bn.

His tenure has seen LSE seal a string of acquisitions, although it was marred by the recent failed attempt at a £21bn merger with German rival Deutsche Borse after it was blocked by the European Commission in March.

PA


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