In turning to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. dealmaker David Schwimmer as chief, the London Stock Exchange Group Plc is signaling a path to a potentially transformative combination.
He is a 20-year veteran of Goldman Sachs and will succeed charismatic Frenchman and fellow financier Xavier Rolet. Rolet quit last November after a spat between the exchange’s board and activist investor The Children’s Investment Fund Management, or TCI.
“Schwimmer’s a born and bred Goldman Sachs product,” said Magomed Galaev, who worked with him in Russia at the bank. “They’ve found a formula combining cut-throat competition with civility and decency, and he embodied that.”
The New York native, who’s a fan of the Mets baseball team and an outdoors enthusiast, got a BA in English from Yale and a law degree from Harvard. After two years as an associate at the New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, Schwimmer joined Goldman’s financial institutions group, focusing on market structure, brokerage and trading.
He later served as chief of staff to then-chief operating officer Lloyd Blankfein. Fluent in Russian, Schwimmer spent three years in Moscow running Goldman’s business there.
Schwimmer will face another Goldman alum, Theodor Weimer, as the LSE fends off efforts by Deutsche Boerse AG to take some of its prized clearing business, which is threatened by Britain’s decision to leave the European Union. Weimer took over the Frankfurt exchange in January, just months after competition authorities blocked an attempted merger between the two companies.
The American banker has extensive experience advising corporate clients worldwide on mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings and other transactions. His hiring has fueled speculation that LSE may seek a trans-Atlantic tie-up with Intercontinental Exchange Inc., owner of the New York Stock Exchange. In January, billionaire Chris Hohn, the head of TCI, predicted a bid for the LSE or some of its businesses from either ICE or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group.
“A potential acquisition of the LSE by a U.S. exchange has merit given the complementary businesses that the LSE offers,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Gurjit Kambo said in a note to clients.
Schwimmer was one of the main architects of the combination between the New York Stock Exchange and Archipelago Holdings Inc. over a decade ago.
“He’s very collegial and friendly, but don’t take that as a sign of weakness or meekness,” said Galaev. “He can be tough when he needs to be.”
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