Has the row over Xavier Rolet’s departure damaged the London Stock Exchange?
Estelle Clark, director of policy at the Chartered Quality Institute, says YES.
The behaviour of everyone involved is akin to schoolboys in the prefect room.
For the board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) to believe that they could announce a chief executive’s departure, without offering any explanation, is either naive or arrogant. To blame the Children’s Investment Fund for having messed up their succession plan is even more extraordinary. Any organisation should be able to invoke its succession plan at a moment’s notice.
This episode smacks of a high-handed attitude, driven by a lack of integrity and transparency. Both are important concepts in corporate governance. It cannot be dismissed as a row that will blow over. Corporate governance concerns have swirled around the LSE for some time, in relation to the failed takeover by Deutsche Boerse and allegations of insider trading.
At a time when we are battling to get boards to take governance seriously, we need the LSE to act as a beacon, the gold standard, to which others should aspire.
David Buik, market commentator at Panmure Gordon, says NO.
During her tenure as chief executive, Dame Clara Furse contributed little to the expansion of the LSE. She spent most of her time repelling overseas predators, rather than aggressively pitching for fresh business, resulting in this exchange losing market share.
The appointment of the experienced investment banker Xavier Rolet in May 2009 was inspired. In the eight years of his leadership, the LSE’s share price has risen from £8 to £36. That is testament to his achievement – better technology, more international IPOs, and greater market penetration.
The damage to the LSE by this recent unsavoury news will be temporary. Rolet’s initiatives still are in place.
The LSE needs a new chairman now. A City luminary could quickly re-galvanise the management – someone with global respect such as the former HSBC chairman, Douglas Flint. His vast experience with international business connections would rekindle the LSE’s prowess as one of the leading international bourses.
There is still all to play for, particularly in the wake of Deutsche Boerse’s troubles, Brexit or not!