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UPDATE 2-Investor TCI demands UK's LSE answer more questions in board tussle
November 15, 2017 / 12:04 PM / 4 days ago

UPDATE 2-Investor TCI demands UK's LSE answer more questions in board tussle

* Fresh letter sent to LSE chairman on Nov. 15

* TCI says LSE must explain why CEO Rolet was “dismissed”

* Investor seeks detail on any payments made to Rolet (Adds LSE statement)

By Simon Jessop and Huw Jones

LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Activist investor TCI has demanded the London Stock Exchange answer a series of questions ahead of a shareholder meeting called by the fund to oust the chairman over his handling of the planned replacement of its chief executive.

Among the questions TCI wants answered by the LSE board before the meeting, the date of which has yet to be set, are the specific reasons behind the exit of CEO Xavier Rolet, who TCI said in a letter dated Nov. 15 was “dismissed”.

TCI said investors needed to know if concerns about Rolet’s performance or other business reason drove the decision, whether Rolet was still fit to remain as CEO and how the board assessed risks of removing him.

The fund also said it wanted details about any payments made to Rolet, either as severance or in exchange for signing a confidentiality agreement about the reasons for his departure, as well as the board’s succession plan for the chairman, who TCI is seeking to push from his post.

The letter is the latest salvo by TCI founder Chris Hohn in his battle to overturn the decision to replace Rolet, who has presided over a period of stellar growth for the City institution that has seen its shares surge in value.

LSE Chairman Donald Brydon wrote in reply to Hohn on Wednesday that the board was committed to providing “all the information necessary to shareholders to enable them to make informed decisions at the General Meeting you have requested”.

No date has been fixed for the meeting, which must take place before the end of the year.

The LSE said on Oct. 19 that Frenchman Rolet would step down by the end of 2018, a move viewed by many at the time as consensual, before TCI wrote its first letter to Brydon on Nov. 3 saying Rolet was being forced out.

A denial by the LSE was followed by a demand from TCI that Rolet be allowed to speak to investors about his decision. TCI said it would use its power as a shareholder with a more than 5 percent stake to force a shareholder meeting if he did not.

The threat was carried out in a letter dated Nov. 9 in which TCI said it wanted investor backing for Brydon to be sacked and for Rolet to be asked to stay. (Additional reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Rachel Armstrong, Edmund Blair and David Evans)

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