Trading Technology 30: Gerald O’Connell
Chief Information Officer
Chicago Board Options Exchange
The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s ability to stay atop the options industry leaderboard has had everything to do with technology, which at CBOE is virtually synonymous with Gerald O’Connell. Although the 60-year-old executive vice president and CIO was not present at CBOE’s creation in 1973, he has logged 27 years with the first U.S. listed-options market. CEO William Brodsky has called O’Connell indispensable to the exchange’s hybrid floor and electronic trading infrastructure, and to a series of technological innovations built on top of that foundation. O’Connell says staying ahead of the game means “moving into newer technology, faster speeds and more capacity before it seems like we need to. That has been our edge. We’re there in advance of others.” Technology has enabled flexibility in product creation and trading. Accommodating options with nonstandard characteristics “took us time,” says O’Connell. But now the CBOE can support all manner of options, futures and stocks, and it handled a volume peak of 600,000 messages per second back in August. “The platform had ‘headroom’ of a million messages per second,” notes O’Connell, a John Marshall Law School graduate whose high-tech seasoning included three years with Hyatt Hotels Corp. in the 1980s working on high frequency transaction systems.