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Sunday, 21 January, 2001, 13:49 GMT
LSE 'close to appointing chief'

London's stock exchange is close to deciding on a new chief executive, a role regarded as one of the hardest in the City.

Don Cruickshank, chairman of the London Stock Exchange, is within the next few days to tell board members of his preferred candidate, the Independent on Sunday said.

And, while the election does not require shareholder approval, the name is on Thursday to go before a meeting of an exchange committee set up to represent LSE investors and users, the paper said.

The LSE has declined to comment on names shortlised for the post, which became vacant in September when Gavin Casey resigned following criticism from shareholders over exchange strategy.

But Hector Sants, an LSE board member and vice-chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston, is believed by City observers to have been among front runners.

Mr Sants joined CSFB through the takeover of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette last year, and there was originally some uncertainty over his role at his new employer, reports said.

Tough job

The chief executive's job at the LSE, Europe's largest stock market, is regarded as one of the hardest in the City.

Gavin Casey: resigned following shareholder criticism
Gavin Casey: resigned after losing support

Mr Casey's resignation followed bitter criticism over the LSE's failed plans to merge with Frankfurt's Deutsche Borse to create a joint exchange named iX.

Mr Casey's predecessor was eased out in 1996 after clashing with the board over strategy.

And Peter Rawlins stood down in 1993 following the ditching of Taurus, a back-office system which was designed to facilitate share payment and certification work, but proved unworkable.

The new chief executive will join the LSE at a particularly challenging time for Europe's stock markets, which are undergoing a period of rationalisation.

Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels bourses last year joined to form the Euronext exchange.

And reports last week said Deutsche Börse is in talks over a partnership with the US-based Nasdaq exchange.

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See also:

22 Sep 00 | Business
New Exchange may play for London
22 Sep 00 | Business
Exchange adviser quits
15 Sep 00 | Business
Stock exchange head quits
04 Dec 00 | Business
LSE silent over new chief
13 Sep 00 | Business
Nasdaq 'emerges' as London partner
10 Sep 00 | Business
Knives out for Cruickshank
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