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NYSE’s Niederauer Resigns With Plan to Leave ICE in August

Thomas Farley
NYSE Group President Thomas Farley. Source: NYSE

Duncan Niederauer resigned from the New York Stock Exchange months sooner than originally planned, citing progress integrating the market with new owner IntercontinentalExchange Group Inc.

Niederauer, 54, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trading executive who became NYSE’s CEO in 2007 and guided its sale to ICE last year, surrendered his role overseeing the NYSE and will step down as president of ICE at the end of August, according to a statement today. Thomas Farley, 38, is now solely in charge of the NYSE.

While he had planned to stay through the end of the year to help NYSE meld with ICE, he accelerated that timing “in light of the rapid integration,” according to today’s statement.

Farley has helped oversee NYSE since the acquisition closed. Jeff Sprecher, chief executive officer of ICE, brought Farley into the company to run his New York Board of Trade in February 2007 when Farley was just 31 years old. He served as president and chief operating officer of the exchange that ICE bought the month before for $1.8 billion to expand into contracts such as sugar and coffee. ICE later re-named the market ICE Futures U.S.

Business Expansion

Sprecher bought NYSE Euronext at a time when profit from the company’s traditional business, U.S. equities, had diminished because of regulatory and technological changes during the past decade and a half. With the acquisition, he gained a financial futures division, NYSE Liffe, that gives him interest-rate futures for the first time. He tried and failed in 2007 to buy the Chicago Board of Trade to get access to the contracts, which allow investors to bet on or hedge moves in rates. The products are the largest contracts by volume at ICE competitor CME Group Inc.

Sprecher and Farley have been revamping the iconic NYSE since the deal closed in November. The day the purchase was finalized, Sprecher said he would usher in a swift shift to a more aggressive culture at the 221-year-old owner of the New York Stock Exchange. His new employees should take more risks, adopting an approach that made ICE one of the world’s biggest exchange operators just 13 years after its founding, he said.

Risk Taking

“I hope I can convince the NYSE employees to embrace that style of business and accept a certain amount of failure,” Sprecher said in a Nov. 12 phone interview. “Any more-mature company has a hard time with that, but I really think that in today’s era companies need to move quickly.”

The company recently bought Algo Technologies Ltd. to replace the stock market’s matching engine, the software that pairs buyers and sellers, people familiar with the deal said last month. In February, ICE hired Elizabeth King from KCG Holdings Inc. to serve as a senior lawyer for the New York Stock Exchange, according to a person briefed on the matter.

There have also been executive departures as is common in takeovers. Larry Leibowitz, who was the chief operating officer at the NYSE’s parent, left at the end of last year. NYSE Euronext Chief Financial Officer Michael Geltzeiler previously announced plans to join ADT Corp.

Prior to joining ICE, Farley worked for SunGard Data System Inc.’s Kiodex unit, where he held the title of president.

He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he played first base for the school’s baseball team from 1994 to 1997. He held or shared three individual records with the Hoyas: tied for most games played in a season at 56, most walks received in a season at 49, and most putouts in a season and career with the team at 467 and 1,488 respectively, according to the team’s website. A put out in baseball is when a defensive player records an out against the opposition.

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