Deutsche Boerse CEO Kengeter to step down amid investigation

The chief executive of Frankfurt stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse has decided to step down amid an investigation of suspected insider trading, the company said Thursday.

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CEO Carsten Kengeter told Deutsche Boerse's supervisory board he wants to leave the job Dec. 31 "in order to allow the company to focus its energy back onto clients, business and growth and to avoid further burdens caused by the ongoing investigation," the company said in a statement.

The investigation involves purchases of the company's own shares made by Kengeter on Dec. 14, 2015 as part of the company's executive pay program. About two months later, Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange announced plans for a merger — plans that were later blocked by the European Union, but pushed up shares at the time.

Kengeter and the company denied any wrongdoing. Deutsche Boerse said the supervisory board accepted his request "with deep regret."

There was no immediate word on a successor.

"The details of the transition will be announced in due course as decisions are made," Deutsche Boerse said. "Carsten Kengeter will lead the company in the interim, and has the supervisory board's full confidence."

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Deutsche Boerse shares were up 1.1 percent in late Frankfurt trading at 91.27 euros ($107.55).