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CBOE’s Brodsky: Merger potential not behind leaving CEO job



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Updated: February 17, 2013 6:38AM

William Brodsky, chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange, said Tuesday his decision to give up some reins at the operation this year was not motivated by any merger discussions.

Brodsky this spring will relinquish the role of chief executive officer at the exchange’s parent, CBOE Holdings Inc., and will become executive chairman. He said that after 28 years of leading Chicago exchanges, he wanted to manage a responsible transition.

“I wanted to find the right time for me to make the announcement rather than someone making the announcement for me,” Brodsky told reporters at a luncheon. He said he wanted to pursue a high standard of corporate governance and to “show the world how you can do a great transition.”

Brodsky has held the dual chairmanship and CEO roles at the CBOE since 1997. For 12 years before that, he was CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He declined to comment on merger prospects for the CBOE.

While the CBOE is the nation’s largest options market, it is a smaller corporate player than other companies that operate exchanges. His departure as chief executive caused speculation that his company can be acquired more easily with Brodsky not being in day-to-day management.

Brodsky said such deals, including IntercontinentalExchange Inc.’s plan to buy the parent of the New York Stock Exchange, have little direct effect on the CBOE. He said the CBOE’s unique products and promotion give it an enduring advantage in the market.

Asked directly about any deal with CME Group Inc., the parent of the Chicago Merc, Brodsky replied, “The last time I checked my calendar, I left there 16 years ago.”

Succeeding him as CEO will be Edward Tilly, currently president and chief operating officer.

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