Stock Exchange may look overseas in hunt for chief executive

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The Independent Online

Don Cruickshank, the chairman of the London Stock Exchange, said yesterday that the exchange was prepared to look overseas for the next chief executive if necessary.

Don Cruickshank, the chairman of the London Stock Exchange, said yesterday that the exchange was prepared to look overseas for the next chief executive if necessary.

Speaking before the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Cruickshank said that the job, which has been vacant since Gavin Casey was hounded out in September, would not "be easy to fill", given the high turnover of holders of the post in the past.

However, he laughed when Michael Fallon, the Conservative MP, asked whether the LSE would follow the example of the Football Association, which has opted for Sweden's Sven Goran Eriksson to be the new England football manager.

Mr Cruickshank said that he did not expect the same outcome, but warned the process could take some time. The LSE last Friday saw off a hostile bid from OM Gruppen, the Swedish stock exchange group.

Yesterday's appearance by the LSE chairman at the House of Commons saw some lively exchanges, with Mr Fallon attacking Mr Cruickshank for the lack of leadership at the LSE. "The leadership is all over the place," Mr Fallon said.

Members criticised Mr Cruickshank's strategic volte-face over the iX merger with the Frankfurt exchange, and asked what had changed since his last appearance before the committee in May, when he had argued vociferously for the deal, and its collapse in September.

Jim Cousins, a Labour member of the committee, said: "You are just hanging in the wind aren't you? You are trapped, Mr Cruickshank, between your shareholders the one hand and your strategic position on the other."

Mr Cruickshank admitted the Exchange had underestimated the regulatory obstacles and the opposition among shareholders to a deal. While the idea of a tie-up with Nasdaq, the US technology exchange enjoys a lot of support, the regulatory and governance issues a deal with Nasdaq would raise were even more formidable.

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