Shareholders seek City heavyweight for TP Icap
INVESTORS are seeking a City big hitter to replace the outgoing chairman of struggling broker TP Icap, accusing the board of being “asleep at the wheel”.
One top-five shareholder said that former London Stock Exchange chief Xavier Rolet, who helped the exchange’s market capitalisation grow from £800m to £13bn, would be an “inspirational appointment” for the under-pressure broker.
“As shareholders we have been pretty unimpressed by the outgoing chairman. The board has been asleep at the wheel whilst the Tullett Prebon and Icap businesses should have been integrated [after merging in 2016],” the shareholder said.
“A chairman with past experience of financial services and M&A integration is essential.”
Another group of investors are understood to be trying to drum up support for Tullett Prebon’s former boss Terry Smith, one of Britain’s bestknown fund managers, who ran TP Icap’s legacy business until 2014 and is the founder of Fundsmith. Insiders say he is not being considered for the role.
“They’re too scared he’ll tell them he’s not interested. We are sure he would consider it,” said a well-placed City source. “What TP Icap need to do to get staff, investors and clients back on board is to re-establish their identity. There are two people that could do that, [Icap founder] Michael Spencer or Terry Smith, and it won’t be Michael.”
Another top five shareholder described the calls to bring Mr Smith back as an “old boys’ club in action” and said he was not their number one choice. Headhunter Russell Reynolds is searching for a replacement.
TP Icap is still battling to pick itself back up after its chief executive John Phizackerley, the investment banker who replaced Mr Smith and merged Tullett Prebon with Icap’s voice broking business, was abruptly sacked following a profit warning in July. Shares are down 49pc for the year to date.
Mr Rolet and Mr Smith did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for TP Icap declined to comment.