TORONTO -- TMX Group Ltd. says chief executive Lou Eccleston is stepping down immediately following allegations against him related to conduct prior to his time at the company.

Business Insider in November reported that Eccleston was accused in court records and filings of inappropriate behaviour involving female employees while he was a senior executive at Bloomberg in New York.

TMX's board of directors said Friday that an investigator found no evidence that Eccleston engaged in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct while employed at TMX, which owns the Toronto Stock Exchange and other market operators.

It said Eccleston believes "it is in the best interests of TMX Group, including its employees and stakeholders, for him to retire early."

TMX says the board is concluding the investigation into the allegations to avoid further distraction.

Charles Winograd, chair of TMX Group, thanked Eccleston for his time at the company.

"The board accepts Mr. Eccleston's decision to retire and recognizes his outstanding efforts since taking on the CEO role," he said in a statement.

John McKenzie will immediately step into the role of interim CEO while continuing with his position as chief financial officer as the company launches a search for a replacement.

TMX says it has been actively looking into succession plans after amending Eccleston's employment arrangement last year to a fixed term.

Eccleston, whose contract at TMX was set to expire at the end of 2020, had been in the role since October 2014.

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