The London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group has cancelled talks with the activist hedge fund led by Sir Chris Hohn, deepening a row over its outgoing head Xavier Rolet.
The LSE has written to Hohn to withdraw an invitation to discuss the matter issued at the end of last week, after the hedge fund manager requested an extraordinary shareholder meeting to call for the removal of chairman Donald Brydon.
The formal process to call the meeting means the LSE board must treat shareholders on an equal footing. No date for the meeting has been publicly announced.
Hohn, head of The Children’s Investment (TCI) fund, alleges the board is forcing out chief executive Xavier Rolet.
At the end of last week he requested the LSE board hold an extraordinary shareholder meeting to vote on a resolution to remove Brydon from his position and to offer Rolet a new, extended term. As an owner of more than five per cent of shares in the LSE Group, Hohn is entitled to requisition the meeting.
Rolet, who announced in October he will retire by the end of 2018, has signed a confidentiality agreement with the LSE about the reasons for leaving, Hohn alleges.
In a letter to the LSE sent today, Hohn said the LSE board had “failed to provide transparency to shareholders”.
Hohn called once again for the board to “waive LSE’s requirement for confidentiality to allow Xavier Rolet to answer shareholders’ questions”.
The letter also calls for the shareholder circular calling the extraordinary meeting to include the “specific reasons” for Rolet’s departure, including whether it was performance-related or otherwise.
Hohn also asked for details of any “severance or other payments” to Rolet, including “payments for loss of office”. The letter notes board members who approved any transaction of the latter kind without consulting shareholders "will be personally liable for these payments".
The LSE could not immediately be reached for comment.