Xavier Rolet was not well known when he took over as head of LSE. Now he is one of the City’s leading figures

Xavier Rolet will step down as chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group by the end of next year, bringing to an end a nine-year tenure that has transformed one of the City’s most high-profile institutions.

The company said on Thursday it had started to look for a successor for Mr Rolet, who will retire in 14 months’ time.

The LSE said it would look internally and externally for a successor. One man previously tipped by industry specialists as a potential contender is Mark Makepeace, who runs the LSE’s data business, which accounts for about 40 per cent of group turnover.

Mr Rolet, who joined from Lehman Brothers in 2009, has overhauled the exchange from one largely focused on UK equities trading and fighting off takeover bids, to one that encompasses trading, provision of data to investors and clearing swaps for over-the-counter markets.

In that period, the LSE’s market capitalisation has gone from £800m to nearly £14bn following deals to buy Russell Investments, the FTSE indices, and a majority stake in LCH, the world’s largest swaps clearing house. The LSE’s shares dropped 1.3 per cent to £38.66 on the news.

“I am extremely proud of all we have done together in just under a decade to turn LSEG into a truly global financial market infrastructure group,” said Mr Rolet.

The Frenchman was a relative unknown beyond the trading industry when he took over the LSE, but won the role in part because he looked after relationships with exchanges while at Lehman. He is now a leading figure in the City of London.

He had been due to step down this year, but the exchange’s deal to merge with Deutsche Börse was blocked by European antitrust authorities in March, prompting him to stay on.

In recent months, he has been one of the City’s strongest advocates to retain the rules that would allow London to keep its clearing business after the UK leaves the EU. 

He has also supported plans by the UK markets regulator to change its listings rules, to attract the world’s largest initial public offerings.

In April he was part of the UK delegation that travelled to Saudi Arabia to press London’s case for the flotation of the world’s biggest oil company, which would see Aramco list about 5 per cent of its shares on his exchange.

“I am delighted that Xavier will remain as chief executive and continue to lead the company until his successor is appointed,” said Donald Brydon, chairman of the LSE.

In a separate trading update, the LSE said total income for the third quarter to September 30 rose 17 per cent to £486m and up 19 per cent year to date, to £1.4bn. 

It also confirmed it would increase its stake in LCH to 64.4 per cent after some shareholders sold holdings equivalent to 6.63 per cent of shares.

Third-quarter revenue at LCH rose 22 per cent to £144.5m on a constant currency basis after processing more interest rate swaps on behalf of banks and investors.

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