Canada's TMX Group says CEO to retire early, finds no evidence of misconduct

FILE PHOTO: Lou Eccleston, TMX Group CEO, speaks at the Sandler O'Neill + Partners Global Exchange and Brokerage Conference in New York, U.S., June 7, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - TMX Group Ltd X.TO, the operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, announced that Chief Executive Officer Lou Eccleston will retire early, but said an internal investigation had found no evidence of sexual misconduct at the company after he had been accused of harassment before he joined in 2014.

Eccleston, whose contract was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020 will retire, effective immediately, the company said in a statement.

Chief Financial Officer John McKenzie was named interim CEO, as the company prepares to start a search for Eccleston’s successor that will include both internal and external candidates, TMX said.

Late last year, TMX said it was looking into allegations about inappropriate sexual conduct by Eccleston before he joined the company, which surfaced in a media report.

While TMX said it found no evidence that Eccleston engaged in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct while employed at TMX, Eccleston “believes it is in the best interests of TMX Group, including its employees and stakeholders, for him to retire early,” TMX said in the statement.

TMX shares fell 0.5% in morning trade in Toronto on Friday, compared with a 0.1% drop in the Toronto stock benchmark .GSPTSE. They are down 1.3% since the allegations, compared with the index's 1.2% gain.

Reporting by Nichola Saminather in Toronto and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and David Gregorio