HONG Kong Exchanges and Clearing yesterday appointed industry veteran Garry Jones as the new chief executive of the London Metal Exchange, choosing an experienced exchange executive over frontrunners from metals brokers.
Jones, who was most recently chief executive of the derivatives exchange NYSE Liffe, replaces outgoing boss Martin Abbott, who announced his plans to leave in June.
Jones has 30 years of experience in exchanges but limited experience in metals, and inherits the role at one of the most difficult times in LME’s history, as it navigates an escalating probe by the US commodities watchdog into the metals warehousing industry.
Martin Pratt, who is chief operating officer at non-ferrous metals futures broker Triland Metals, was said to have been offered the LME role earlier this month, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
HKEx has not revealed what happened to Pratt’s candidacy.
HKEx, which acquired LME last year, also announced yesterday that deputy chief executive Diarmuid O’Hegarty would be resigning after a six-month notice period. An LME spokesperson told City A.M. that the search for a new deputy would be likely to commence in about a month and that Jones would play a part in the decision.
“Garry has a wealth of international experience of exchanges, markets and trading and is very familiar with UK rules and regulations,” said LME chairman Sir Brian Bender.
“We are confident that under Garry’s leadership, the continued success of the LME is assured.”
PROFILE: GARRY JONES
When it comes to industry experience, the London Metal Exchange would be hard-pressed to beat that of veteran Garry Jones. He recently steered the helm of NYSE Liffe – including during the failed merger between Liffe and rival derivatives exchange Eurex – and previously held executive roles at NYSE Euronext and interdealer broker ICAP. Jones has also served on a number of boards, including the Qatar Exchange and the Federation of European Securities Exchanges. To add to his stellar CV, he was a founder member of the Futures and Options Association’s European Industry Council and was a member of the Practitioner Panel, which advised the former UK city regulator the Financial Services Authority. “HKEx wanted to put a professional in the role and they certainly have,” a senior metals analyst told City A.M. “While he doesn’t have much metals experience, he has so much knowledge of the workings and mechanics of exchanges. LME is so much more than just metals, with a very complicated structure. You need someone with very specific knowledge of the market.” In light of HKEx’s acquisition of LME it had been mooted that the new chief executive would have links with Asia. “I’m not surprised the new hire wasn’t from Asia, as LME is still a London shop and they need someone with vast experience in the London market,” countered the analyst. “It’s an old boy’s network and they would not want an outsider.”