AFTAs 2019: Best Technology Executive, Sell Side—Stacey Cunningham

Timothy Fadek

Exchanges are facing a period of unprecedented change. There are battles over market data fees, increased competition and fragmentation, and new regulations abound. Long gone are the days of the open-outcry pits—technology is the name of the game in today’s environment. Leave it to a centuries-old exchange to lead the charge for change.

In 2015, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced that it was building a new trading platform, Pillar. This year, the exchange has now completed the project to migrate its five equity markets to Pillar, with NYSE Chicago being the final exchange to change over. Heading this final migration push is Stacey Cunningham, NYSE Group’s president since May 2018.

For the first time in its history, the NYSE allows trading on all companies listed in the US, regardless of which exchange they call home. So, the NYSE migration to Pillar started with all the companies that do not list on the NYSE. This past summer, they migrated the companies that do list on the Big Board. The Chicago Stock Exchange, which was acquired by ICE in 2018, joined the Arca, American and National exchanges, as well as NYSE itself.

After starting her career at NYSE in the 1990s, Cunningham took a brief detour away from the exchange in 2005. She rejoined in 2012, and she’s excited to be home leading the iconic institution’s evolution into a technology company.

“I came back home. I grew up on the trading floor. I love the NYSE. I left at a crossroads in time where it was unclear how technology was going to be integrated—and it was clear to me that technology needed to be integrated more effectively,” she says. “When I came back a few years later, it was clear to me that the NYSE was on a path toward the future and really making sure that we were able to scale our business like never before. That was exciting and being able to be part of a team whose job it was to reinvent a global icon, is not an opportunity you want to pass up.”

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