The former chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, Xavier Rolet, is leading a new blank cheque vehicle that counts a number of other City grandees among its executives.
Rolet is chief executive officer and chairman of World Quantum Growth Acquisition Corp, which outlined plans to raise $200m on the New York Stock Exchange through 20m shares valued at $10 each, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 10 August.
The new firm will focus on the fintech and financial services sector in Europe and the US, it said.
So-called special purpose acquisition companies, which raise share capital to acquire private companies with the aim of taking it public, have exploded in popularity in 2021. A record $104bn in the first half of 2021, but the vast majority of this was in the first three months, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. The pace of deal activity plunged by 82% to $16bn in the second quarter.
Serge Harry, the former chief financial officer of European exchange group Euronext, will become CFO of the new special purpose acquisition company, the filing added. He also worked alongside Rolet at hedge fund CQS, where Harry was deputy chief executive officer. Rolet was CEO of the hedge fund for a year until January 2020.
Michel Brogard, who headed up CQS’s Americas business previously, has been named as chief development officer of World Quantum Growth Acquisition Corp. Antoine Shagoury, who worked alongside Rolet when he led the LSE Group, will become chief information officer of the new Spac.
Credit Suisse was the lead underwriter of the deal.
Rolet was also named as a board member of Golden Falcon Acquisition Corp in December, the Spac run by former Barclays chairman of European banking, Makram Azar.
Other City grandees have jumped on the Spac craze — former Credit Suisse boss Tidjane Thiam raised $345m through a Spac in March, and for a fintech target.
Rolet, the former CEO of the LSE and a senior equity trader at Goldman Sachs, has taken on a number of executive roles over the past year including a board member of broker Shore Capital and the Saudi stock exchange.
He recently weighed in around the ongoing debate around junior banker working hours and banks’ efforts to keep hold of talent amid a burnout crisis in the sector. “The investment banks with this kind of problem should change their HR leadership: try hiring poor, ‘hungry’ kids who managed to put themselves through college instead of ‘entitled’ graduates and you won’t have this problem,” he told FN.
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