Former Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet refuses to quit Russian fertiliser company in wake of Ukraine war
Former London Stock Exchange boss Xavier Rolet has refused to quit a Russian fertiliser company in the wake of the Ukraine war.
The French businessman has sat on the board of Moscow-based PhosAgro since 2018 and has been chairman since 2019.
He earned more than £325,000 for the role in 2020.
Staying put: Xavier Rolet has sat on the board of Moscow-based PhosAgro since 2018 and has been chairman since 2019
The firm has a listing in London, though trading in its shares was suspended by the LSE this week. Rolet was LSE boss for eight years between 2009 and 2017, and is one of a string of Western businessmen under pressure to sever ties with Russian firms, particularly those connected to President Putin.
Oligarch Andrey Guryev is the biggest shareholder, with a stake of over 23 per cent. The second-largest investor is Vladimir Litvinenko, who oversaw Putin’s doctoral thesis.
Rolet’s refusal to step down came a day after influential business body the Institute of Directors said it was ‘untenable’ for British directors to stay on Russian boards.
When asked about the statement he said he had ‘commented publicly on the tragedy unfolding in the Ukraine’.
He added that he was not British and asked: ‘Perhaps British chairs of Russian companies can give you a British perspective on the logic of punishing LSE-listed companies for the failure of diplomacy?’
The 62-year-old was awarded the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation in 2017 and is the chairman of Shore Capital Markets.
Others under pressure to quit Russian boards include Prince Charles’ former aide Sir Michael Peat, who is on the board of Roman Abramovich-backed steelmaker Evraz.
The ex-courtier is due to leave at the end of March but has so far declined to step down early.
Yesterday, a fellow British director at Evraz, City veteran James Rutherford, quit suddenly.