Xavier Rolet has stepped down as chief executive of CQS, the $20bn hedge fund controlled by UK billionaire Michael Hintze, after just a year in the role.

The 60-year-old, who ran the London Stock Exchange for almost a decade, will stay on as strategic adviser after wanting to move from a full-time role for reasons “unconnected with CQS”, the hedge fund said in a statement on Wednesday.

The sudden change comes as CQS has begun diversifying from its roots trading distressed credit in Europe. Since Mr Rolet joined, it has expanded an asset management arm focused on equities in North America, and hired Paul Graham, the former chief executive of AlphaGen Capital, a subsidiary of Janus Henderson. It has also pushed into trading credit in Asia.

Mr Rolet spearheaded the LSE’s transformation from a perpetual takeover target into one of the world’s largest exchanges by market capitalisation. The LSE’s market valuation rose from £800m to more than £14bn, before Mr Rolet left in 2017 under pressure from the board to resolve a governance crisis.

Sir Michael hired Mr Rolet to help capture a grab a slice of the billions of dollars that have been pouring into passive funds. Exchange traded products that track indices have shaken up the fund management industry, offering investors a low-cost alternative to funds run by star managers.

At the time of Mr Rolet’s appointment, CQS said the move would allow Sir Michael to manage the investments of his fund. The two men had worked together at Goldman Sachs 30 years ago.

Last year was a boon for many of the best-performing hedge fund managers as strong momentum in stock and bond markets propelled them to their biggest annual gains in a decade. CQS said its assets under management in the past year rose 12.5 per cent to a record $20bn.

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Sir Michael will continue as the group’s executive chairman and senior investment officer. Serge Harry, a former adviser to Mr Rolet at the LSE, has been named as CQS’s new deputy chief executive.

“Xavier will continue to provide the firm with strategic direction and advice, and use his network to help us with client development”, said Sir Michael. “We have benefited hugely from [his] drive and business acumen and have made significant progress during his tenure as chief executive.”

This month Mr Rolet joined the board of Tadawul, Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange. Mr Rolet had been part of UK trade delegations to the Kingdom when at the LSE.

News of Mr Rolet’s departure was first reported by Bloomberg.



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