London Stock Exchange Group chief executive Xavier Rolet could walk away with £16m if the London operator's proposed merger with Frankfurt-based Deutsche Boerse is successful.
LSE revealed last month that it was in merger talks with Deutsche Boerse in a bid to create a dominant European exchange operator. The two exchanges confirmed that Rolet will step down from his role if the deal goes through, while Deutsche Boerse chief executive will take over as chief executive and executive director of the newly-combined company.
According to the Times, Rolet may be able to cash more than half a million shares, worth nearly £16m, if the merger takes place.
According to company filings, Rolet was paid £6.3m in the year to March 31, 2014, and, had 560,559 shares "unvested and subject to performance conditions" at the end of that year. Those shares were worth £15,992,748 at the end of last week.
A more up-to-date account of Rolet's share holding is expected to be included in the LSE's forthcoming annual report for 2015.
Responding to the initial Times report, a London Stock Exchange spokesman said: "Our senior executives’ long-term incentive plan awards are set by the board and are subject to performance and other conditions.
"These awards, announced in the 2014 annual report, are not related to, nor conditional on, the proposed merger. To suggest otherwise is completely wrong and without foundation," the spokesperson added.
Deutsche Boerse is just one operator eyeing up LSE, however, with multiple news reports over the weekend suggesting that CME Group, the operator of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is considering making a bid for the LSE, in just the latest move by a rival financial exchange to snatch up the London operator.
Last week, shares in the LSE soared to a record high, after the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) confirmed it was also considering bidding for the London exchange.