Leading activist investor Sir Christopher Hohn has called for the resignation of the chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), claiming he is forcing out chief executive Xavier Rolet.
Hohn, who runs The Children’s Investment (TCI) fund, said Rolet is leaving the company against his wishes, in a letter sent by TCI to the company at the end of last week.
The investor, known for his muscular activist campaigns, was not satisfied by answers given in a discussion with LSEG chairman Donald Brydon last week.
Rolet last month announced his intention to retire by the end of December 2018, with the LSEG board already looking for a replacement.
However, Rolet has not yet publicly stated his reasons for leaving. His departure comes at a sensitive time for the group, as it prepares to navigate Brexit while also trying to woo Saudi Aramco in its plans to list.
TCI said it will call an extraordinary general meeting with the demand that Brydon steps down if the LSEG board does not keep Rolet on until 2021.
The fund, which owns 5.05 per cent of the FTSE 100 firm, according to data firm Morningstar, has in the past year tussled with French aircraft engine maker Safran after it tried to buy aeroplane seat maker Zodiac. Other high-profile campaigns have included pressing for a clampdown on pay at German car manufacturer Volkswagen and a move to try to force the Indian government to stop interfering with Coal India.
Hohn argued Rolet, who previously led the French arm of now-defunct investment bank Lehman Brothers, has created value for shareholders through various purchases added to good management.
Rolet is 57 years old, an age not widely considered as a usual time to retire.
Rolet has overseen an extraordinary recovery in LSEG’s share price, which has risen from well below £10 when he joined in May 2009 to break through the £40 mark for the first time earlier this year. The group’s market capitalisation has risen from £800m to £14bn during his reign.
LSEG said it had received the letter. In a statement the group said: "LSEG has followed a proper governance process to plan an orderly succession for the CEO. The FCA was kept informed throughout the process and emphasised the importance of the plan for an orderly succession.
"Xavier Rolet will be providing input into the process to identify his successor and is focused on his role as CEO until his successor is appointed."