LONDON • The London Stock Exchange (LSE) yesterday named Goldman Sachs veteran David Schwimmer as chief executive after a boardroom battle led to the departure of Mr Xavier Rolet in November.
The appointment of Mr Schwimmer, an American who has been with Goldman for 20 years and most recently served as global head of market structure and global head of metals and mining in investment banking, takes effect on Aug 1.
Mr Rolet stepped down last year after almost a decade at the helm, during which the Frenchman transformed the company with a string of deals, lifting its market value to almost £14 billion (S$26 billion) from less than £1 billion.
Mr Schwimmer takes charge as Britain's planned departure from the European Union next year raises questions about LSE's strategy at the heart of Europe's biggest financial centre. He will have to protect LSE's dominance in clearing, as it risks losing a chunk of its derivatives clearing business to Deutsche Boerse because of Brexit.
He will also lead LSE's efforts to woo oil giant Saudi Aramco to London for what is expected to be the world's largest initial public offering.
"David is a leader with great experience in the financial market infrastructure sector... as well as capital markets experience in both developed and emerging markets," LSE chairman Donald Brydon said in a statement.
The appointment should also help allay investor concerns that LSE could be more vulnerable to a potential takeover without a permanent CEO.
Mr Schwimmer, 49, who attended Harvard Law School and Yale University, would have an annual salary of £775,000, with a bonus of up to 225 per cent of his salary, LSE said.
"He (Schwimmer) is well known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients and colleagues alike," Mr Brydon said. LSE said group chief financial officer David Warren, who was acting CEO, would continue as the finance boss.
Activist hedge fund TCI, an LSE investor, predicted a £15 billion bid for the group from transatlantic rivals ICE and CME Group during an investor conference call earlier this year.
Mr Rolet's exit triggered a fight between Mr Brydon and TCI, whose attempt to push him out was eventually defeated at a shareholder meeting.
The British firm holds a 5.18 per cent stake in LSE.
TCI founder Chris Hohn declined to comment.
Mr Rolet was credited with turning LSE into a diversified exchange group by buying a controlling stake in LCH, one of the world's biggest clearing houses, and expanding the bourse's activities in stock indexes. Under his leadership, LSE was unable to seal a merger with Deutsche Boerse, the exchange's third attempt at an Anglo-German tie-up.
"It hasn't been an orthodox transition, but we're pleased to see clear leadership being put in place," said a top 20 investor in LSE.