|Chairman and Chief Executive Officer|
|Last year: 3|
A sluggish economy tends to squeeze exchanges' profits, but not in the product lines that make Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange, founded in 2000 by chairman and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher, the global behemoth that it is. ICE's numbers mount at every turn: Average daily volume for Brent crude futures and options was 612,720 in April, 43 percent higher than a year before. Open interest in ICE Brent options on futures exceeded 1 million contracts for the first time on May 1. Cumulative credit-default-swap clearing surpassed $30 trillion in notional value on April 26. Last year ICE launched more than 260 energy contracts and 30 futures and options contracts, and this year it is expanding in corn, soybean and wheat products. "Customers drive the demand," says Sprecher, 57, who took the company public in 2005. Today, with a market valuation of $9 billion, ICE continually pursues acquisitions, such as recently on-the-block London Metal Exchange. "Because we develop our own technology and clearing platforms," Sprecher explains, "we are able to maintain a healthy pace of product development." It goes to the bottom line: First-quarter revenue rose 9 percent, to $365 million, and net income jumped 15 percent, to $148 million both records, of course.