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The corridors of power...

What is it about the London Stock Exchange? For one reason or another, this august body is the headhunting equivalent of a galactic black hole - consuming everything that comes too close.

It’s more than two months since Don Cruickshank announced he was stepping down as LSE chairman and no-one is any the wiser as to whom might succeed him. Ron Sandler has been mentioned as a possibility and Paul Myners, the former Gartmore chairman, another.

The LSE has always looked a bit jinxed. A decade ago, it did for Peter Rawlins, the former Arthur Andersen partner who resigned after the exchange scrapped the Taurus paperless settlement system after running up development costs of £80m.

It took seven months to come up with a successor in Michael Lawrence, former finance director at the Prudential. He only lasted a couple of years before falling foul of yet another computer fiasco.

His successor Gavin Casey stood down in September 2000 in the wake of the failed merger with Deutsche Borse. After yet another protracted trawl, the headhunters came up with Clara Furse, the first woman to take the helm at the LSE. Born in Canada to Dutch parents, she was dubbed the Sven-Goran Eriksson of the City.

Twenty years ago, the chairmanship of the London Stock Exchange was about as plum a position as one could hope to find. But it increasingly looks like an anachronism. Big Bang in 1986 shifted trading from the jobbers and brokers and onto electronic screens. Today, the streets around the LSE are depressingly empty.

The headhunters will eventually persuade someone to replace Don Cruickshank, but the job is not what it was.

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