LSE Hires Goldman's Schwimmer as CEO, Ending Long Search

(Bloomberg) -- London Stock Exchange Group Plc hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s David Schwimmer to run the 217-year-old bourse, ending a months-long search for a CEO by appointing another investment banker.

He will join the group on Aug. 1 following a 20-year career at Goldman Sachs, the exchange said in a statement on Friday. Schwimmer, 49, takes up one of the most high-profile jobs in the City of London and is currently based in New York. He replaces interim CEO David Warren, who will retain his role as chief financial officer, the LSE said.

LSE has been looking for a new leader since former banker Xavier Rolet abruptly left in November following an ignominious public spat between activist shareholder TCI Fund Management and LSE’s board. Schwimmer has big boots to fill after Rolet, who became CEO in 2009, led an almost sixfold rise in the stock price and made LSE the world’s largest clearinghouse.

The incoming chief has “great experience in the financial market infrastructure sector, which he has been closely involved in throughout his investment banking career, as well as capital markets experience in both developed and emerging markets,” said LSE Chairman Donald Brydon. “He is well-known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients and colleagues alike.”

Clearing has become a political battleground in the wake of the U.K.’s Brexit decision and one of the first tasks for the new chief will be to defend LSE’s clearing business as rivals like Deutsche Boerse AG attempt to chip away at its dominant position.

Schwimmer most recently served as global head of market structure and global head of metals and mining in investment banking. He began his career at Goldman Sachs in the financial institutions group, focusing on market structure, brokerage and trading. He also served as chief of staff to Lloyd Blankfein, then-president and chief operating officer, and spent three years in Moscow running the company’s Russia business.

“I have worked closely with David over his career at Goldman Sachs,” Blankfein, now CEO of the company, said by email. “He has great expertise as an adviser to large companies, and he has been a terrific partner and friend.”

Schwimmer will have an annual salary of 775,000 pounds ($1.1 million) and could earn a bonus more than two times that, LSE said. Half his bonus will be deferred into shares for a three-year-period. The banker will also get a one-off payment of 1.05 million pounds to be made in March 2019. The payment will be made to compensate for giving up his cash award at Goldman Sachs.

LSE shares were slightly higher at 4,260 pence as of 9:53 a.m.

“The announcement today is a net positive for LSE as it removes an overhang for the stock, and we think an external candidate was the market’s preferred option,” UBS Group AG analyst Michael Werner said in a note to clients. The exchange is expected to pursue acquisition opportunities in line with its previous strategy, he said.

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