Deutsche Börse AG Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter resigned Thursday in the wake of an insider-trading investigation related to the company's aborted multibillion-dollar merger with London Stock Exchange Group PLC.
Mr. Kengeter said in a statement that the decision wasn't easy but that he wanted to protect the company "in the light of the public accusations and allegations." He added that he would cooperate with the authorities until the end of the probe. Mr. Kengeter, whose contract was set to end in March 2018, will leave the company at the end of the year.
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The former Goldman Sachs and UBS banker has been under pressure since earlier this year, when German prosecutors launched an investigation focusing on whether secret merger talks with the LSE were already in progress when Mr. Kengeter bought shares in Deutsche Börse in late 2015.
His resignation comes just days after a Frankfurt court this week refused a proposed settlement to drop the investigation against Mr. Kengeter and returned the case to the public prosecutor.
According to an official market disclosure note, Mr. Kengeter bought 60,000 Deutsche Börse shares worth EUR4.5 million on Dec. 14, 2015, about two months before merger talks with LSE were announced. The merger announcement resulted in a sharp rise of Deutsche Börse shares.
The company said Thursday that neither it nor Mr. Kengeter had further comment and pointed to previous statements in which it called the allegations unfounded. Mr. Kengeter has also previously denied the allegations.
The proposed EUR28 billion merger of Deutsche Börse and the LSE, initially announced in February 2016, ultimately collapsed in March 2017 when the European Union blocked the transaction amid concerns it would effectively create a monopoly. Mr. Kengeter was set to be CEO of the combined company.
Write to Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 26, 2017 11:38 ET (15:38 GMT)