The London Stock Exchange named Goldman Sachs’ veteran David Schwimmer as chief executive officer last week, with an initial challenge of helping the 300-year-old institution to navigate Brexit.
Analysts expressed relief that the LSE had finally been able to find an external candidate after a boardroom battle involving activist hedge fund TCI led to the departure last November of CEO Xavier Rolet.
Schwimmer, a 49-year-old New Yorker 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 up the role at the start of August.
Schwimmer, who attended Harvard Law School and Yale University, will earn an annual salary of £775,000, with a bonus of up to 225 per cent of his salary, LSE said.
He will also get £1.05 million in compensation in March next year for giving up his 2018 cash awards at Goldman.
He is well known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients
Frenchman Rolet left after almost a decade at the helm, during which he transformed the company with a string of deals, lifting its market value to almost £14 billion from less than £1 billion.
Schwimmer takes charge as Britain’s planned departure from the EU in 2019 raises questions about the LSE’s strategy at the heart of Europe’s biggest financial centre.
Although the LSE owns the Milan Exchange and has clearing operations in Paris, it is unclear how much direct access financial firms in Britain will have to EU customers after Brexit. Schwimmer will have to protect LSE’s dominance in euro clearing as rival Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt is already seeking to exploit uncertainty to build up business. He will also lead the 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.
“He is well known for his robust intellect and partnership approach with clients and colleagues alike,” Brydon added.
Group CFO David Warren, who was acting CEO, will continue as the company’s finance boss.
The LSE is seen in the market as a takeover target rather than a predator with rivals Intercontinental Exchange and CME in the US long seen as suitors, analysts said.
“We think the appointment of Mr Schwimmer, a former M&A banker, will allow LSE to continue to look for inorganic growthopportunities, in line with LSE’s strategy,” UBS analyst Michael Werner said in a note to clients.