At 34, the LME’s Newest Leader Ranks as One of the Youngest CEOs

  • Chamberlain is a good candidate for permanent CEO role: Sucden
  • LME, world’s biggest metals marketplace, is owned by HKEx

The London Metal Exchange’s new chief is also one of the youngest in the industry.

Matthew Chamberlain, 34, was named interim head of the LME on Monday, making him the youngest among major exchange heads as he takes over from Garry Jones, who retired at 58.

Matthew Chamberlain

Soiurce: LME

While Chamberlain isn’t running a public company, an age comparison of chief executive officers shows the speed of his ascent to the top position is an unusual feat. In a ranking of more than 2,000 listed companies around the world, only Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg, 32, is younger.

The LME is a subsidiary of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd. and a London institution, which prides itself on 139 years of history and being the last remaining open-outcry ring. It’s the world’s dominant metals venue and sets benchmark prices in markets such as copper, aluminum and zinc.

While Chamberlain has taken the position on a temporary basis, he could be a suitable permanent candidate, according to Michael Overlander, 65, CEO of Sucden Financial Ltd., which trades on the exchange.

“His time at the LME has been relatively short, but that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of picking up the reins that have been handed to him on a temporary basis,” he said from London.

Career History

Chamberlain joined the exchange in 2012 as head of business development and has led reforms to the warehouse network and initiatives to expand into precious metals trading. In December, he was promoted to chief operating officer after the departure of Stuart Sloan.

The next CEO needs to tackle issues such as rising volatility that’s problematic for industrial hedgers using the exchange, and soothe broker concerns over the rise of algorithmic trading, according to Malcolm Freeman, a director at Kingdom Futures Ltd. and broker on the LME in London.

“The general consensus is that they’ve got to get someone out of the industry who already understands the way the LME works,” he said.

Chamberlain isn’t the first 34-year-old to run a major market-infrastructure firm. Sjoerd Rietberg became the co-CEO of Europe’s largest trader of exchange-traded funds in January 2014, shortly after his 34th birthday. Rietberg had already spent nine years at Flow Traders, including a stint as head of trading.

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