ASX appoints the first female CEO

Lofthouse is the first woman to run ASX since its founding in 1987 by merging all state stock exchanges. She is also the second woman to run the stock exchange in 150 years of trading on the Australian Stock Exchange after Ann Bowering, who ran the national stock exchange from 2016 to 2019.

The ASX Nomination Committee, chaired by former KPMG Chairman Peter Nash, began looking for a new CEO in February this year after Stevens suddenly retired. The board asked for the help of consultant Egon Zehnder.

ASX Chairman Damian Roche, who was on the nomination committee, is expected to fly to New York about three weeks ago to talk to an international candidate presumed to be NYSE Director Stacey Cunningham.

Hard work

It could be argued that Lofthouse, which is now responsible for ASX cash and derivatives trading, international business development and over-the-counter clearing, is taking on one of the most difficult CEO positions in the market.

Although ASX has some of the highest gross profit margins of any large listed company, around 70 percent, it faces a number of challenges in its core business.

These include stock market deequitization caused by a surge in private equity takeovers, a lack of initial public offerings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and no apparent growth opportunities beyond the blockchain-based options of the CHESS replacement.

ASX’s recent financial performance has improved due to increased interest rate futures trading against a background of higher official interest rates.

It is possible that the real-time stock settlement promised through CHESS compensation will disrupt a number of established stock market services, including registries and custody.

Her appointment meets the requirements of ASX shareholders in interviews with Mr. Roch.

One shareholder who did not wish to be named said that the last thing he wanted to see was the appointment of a CEO with a purely IT education.

“We want a CEO who truly understands ASX’s operations and what this new ASX platform will provide,” said the shareholder.

“This is largely a business orientation, including an understanding of the market links and synergies between the various players that can be achieved through blockchain technology.”

The shareholder said he had told Mr Roch his disappointment that Mr Stevens had decided to retire and not wait for the commissioning date to compensate for CHESS.

The commissioning date for the CHESS replacement in April 2023 was canceled in May this year, but ASX will not yet tell market participants when the project will be operational.

More costly outages

Tim Hogben, executive director of the project, said last week at the annual meeting of the Association of Stock Brokers and Investment Advisers in Sydney that the project was on track.

He likened it to the equivalent of an “80-meter sprint per 100 meters.”

He said ASX was waiting for the last drop of code for the system. He also said that the distributed ledger below it processes test transactions at a rate no one in Australia has ever seen.

He provided a possible window for a new commissioning date when he said it would be somewhere between June 2023 and April 2024.

ASX spends about $ 70 million to $ 100 million a year on technology investments, and about 70 percent of that is expected to go to CHESS.

This suggests that the cost estimate of $ 250 million will grow to more than $ 300 million.

An ASX spokesman said: “ASX is looking for a new CEO. We will announce to the market in due course. “

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