Time is running out for the London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group to call a meeting which will decide the fate of its chairman and chief executive, in a public battle with a major shareholder.
The LSE has less than a fortnight left inform shareholders of a meeting requested by activist investor Sir Chris Hohn, who wishes to retain Xavier Rolet as chief executive of the FTSE 100 firm. In October Rolet announced he will resign by the end of next year.
An announcement of a meeting could come as soon as this week, although no firm timetable has been fixed publicly as yet.
The company is currently working on a shareholder circular to announce the meeting. Directors are debating whether to publish details, including email evidence, of an “accumulation” of a controlling management style from Rolet, according to the Financial Times.
Hohn wrote to the LSE on 9 November requesting a shareholder meeting to vote on resolutions to remove chairman Donald Brydon and extend Rolet’s contract, as was his fund’s right as a shareholder of more than five per cent of the company.
The LSE’s circular will aim to establish facts for shareholders to decide the merits of Hohn’s argument that Rolet should stay on.
A meeting must be called within 21 days of receipt of the request under company law, meaning the LSE has until 30 November to announce it. The meeting must then take place within the next 28 days, setting up a showdown before the end of the year.
Hohn, manager of The Children’s Investment (TCI) fund, argued in a letter sent at the start of the month that the LSE board was forcing out Rolet.
Rolet, a Frenchman who formerly led the French arm of the Lehman Brothers bank, has not publicly explained his reasons for leaving, although Hohn claimed in a separate letter that he is subject to a non-disclosure agreement covering his departure.
The LSE declined to comment.