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NYSE names Duncan Niederauer chief executive to replace John Thain

NYSE names Duncan Niederauer chief executive to replace John Thain

The New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday named Duncan Niederauer chief executive to replace John Thain, who is taking the top job at Merrill Lynch & Co. The change is effective Dec. 1.
Niederauer, 48, joined the NYSE in April after serving as co-head of equities trading at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. NYSE Euronext, the New York Stock Exchange's parent, selected the 22-year Goldman veteran to run the overall company at a time when the exchange faces continued pressure on pricing and trading speed from all-electronic rivals.
Thain's exit comes after nearly four change-filled years at the Big Board and fits with his plan to stay on for 3 to 5 years. Also a longtime Goldman veteran, Thain guided a transformation of the NYSE from a marketplace dominated by a paper-littered trading floor into the first truly global exchange and one that has become a largely electronic operation. But despite the success of efforts to make the NYSE a more nimble operation, increased competition from all-electronic exchanges eroded some of the NYSE's market share during Thain's tenure.
It remains unclear whether Niederauer will share Thain's interest in moving into the market for derivatives in the U.S., though his background as a stock trader perhaps gave comfort to some NYSE floor veterans who perhaps view him as one of their own.
"We have a well-defined business strategy in place, and I look forward to continuing to work with our global team and our customers in the years ahead," Niederauer said in a statement.
The Euronext deal gave the NYSE a foothold in derivatives in Europe, and Thain, 52, had talked of wanting to expand that operation to the U.S., possibly through a deal with the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Thain's reshaping of the NYSE left in place the exchange's iconic trading floor, albeit in a smaller and less crowded form. The so-called hybrid system he championed left traders and others of the wood trading floor in place to match buyers and sellers for some orders while diverting most of the huge flow of orders to computers.
In 2004, Thain became the first permanent head of the exchange after longtime CEO Dick Grasso departed amid an uproar over his $187.5 million pay package. He not only turned the NYSE into a public company but also acquired the electronic trading platform Archipelago Holdings Inc.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. analyst Rob Rutschow wrote in a note to clients that Thain's departure is a blow to the exchange and that he may be leaving before the exchange has to show any "meaningful progress" in its tie-up with Euronext.
Rutschow contends Niederauer seems to have a greater "nuts and bolts understanding" of the NYSE's stock-trading business and what he sees as deficiencies in that area.
NYSE Euronext shares fell 23 cents to $86.74.


Updated : 2021-10-16 03:43 GMT+08:00