Jeffery Sprecher emerges as new exchange power

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A New York Times article notes that, "It sounds preposterous. A businessman from Atlanta blows into New York and walks off with the colonnaded high temple of American capitalism."

But that is exactly what Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of the IntercontinentalExchange, has pulled off.

ICE and the NYSE have agreed to an $8.2 billion merger, one that will leave Sprecher as CEO of the combined company. Get ready for a bevy of laudatory profiles, as the ICE and NYSE have every reason to get the CEO off to a good start.

The New York Times gets the party started, noting that "Sprecher (pronounced SPRECK-er) has probably done more than anyone else to dismantle the trading floors of old and replace human brokers with machines. Along the way, he and ICE have traced an arc through some of the defining business stories of our time — from the rise and fall of Enron, to the transformation of old-school investment banks into vast trading operations, to the Wall Street excesses that not long ago helped derail the entire economy. Now, after a series of bold acquisitions, he is about to become the big boss of the Big Board."

This will not meaningfully change the trading business overnight, but the symbolism is apt. For decades, people have been predicting the demise of the NYSE. We're witnessing the end of the end now, at least symbolically.

"It is perhaps unsurprising that some of the people who make their living on the Big Board's floor are a bit nervous about the exchange's new boss. But Mr. Sprecher says they have nothing to fear. His friends and business associates say he could actually turn out to be the best hope for restoring trust in the stock market."

That's the plan anyway. Sprecher is a known expert on market structure. We'll see how he chooses to influence the debate.

For more:
- here's the profile

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