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The 2017 Trading Tech 40: Chris Isaacson

< Wall Street's Nerds: The World's Most Powerful Trading Executives2. Chris IsaacsonChief Information OfficerCBOE HoldingsLast Year: 3

Under the terms of the $3.4 billion merger that CBOE Holdings negotiated with Bats GlobalMarkets last September and completed on February 28, all CBOE businesses and products — including the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the largest U.S. options market; and the vaunted CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) — will run on Bats's technology. That's music to the ears of Chris Isaacson, global chief information officer at Bats and now CIO for the combined entity. "I've been very blessed to have been part of the team that started Bats," the 38-year-old says. "Now I get to see us move on to the next phase with CBOE acquiring us and migrating to the Bats platform."

The sleek, world-class exchange platform of Bats, which was launched in Lenexa, Kansas, in 2005 by a 13-person team spun out of high frequency trading shop Tradebot Systems, is a far cry from the man-powered markets where Isaacson's father, a pig and grain farmer, traded futures to hedge against changes in livestock prices. The younger Isaacson first learned to code at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor's in information systems. The Loomis, Nebraska, native received an MBA in computer science and management in 2003 from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he learned skills for managing large-scale software projects.

He says his team is "laser-focused" on his biggest project yet: moving CBOE onto Bats systems. Rebounding from its failure to complete an initial public offering in 2012, Bats had a strong 2016 that included a successful IPO in April at the high end of its price range. "It's always a momentous day for a company when it goes public, but it's not every day a company goes public on its own exchange," Isaacson says. Recalling the roots of Bats, he adds, "We understood what the most demanding of our trading members would require because we were one of them. So we developed a platform that could satisfy the most demanding. That ethos has been driving the firm until today with the merger, and going forward I think it will remain essential to our success."


 The 2017 Trading Tech 40Click below to view profiles
1. Richard PragerBlackRock2. Chris IsaacsonBats Global Markets3. Bradley PetersonNasdaq4. Brad LevyMarkitSERV5. Dan KeeganCiti
6. Glenn LeskoBloomberg Tradebook7. Bryan DurkinCME Group8. Mayur KapaniIntercontinental Exchange9. Mike BlumKCG Holdings10. Raj MahajanGoldman Sachs Group
11. Ronald DePoaloFidelity Institutional12. Nick ThemelisMarketAxess Holdings13. Jenny KnottNEX Optimisation14. Billy HultTradeweb Markets15. Rob ParkIEX Group
16. Bill Chow & Richard LeungHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing17. John Mackay (Mack) GillMillenniumIT18. Paul HamillCitadel Securities19. Eric NollConvergex20. Veronica AugustssonCinnober Financial Technology
21. Tyler Moeller & Joshua WalskyBroadway Technology22. Alasdair HaynesAquis Exchange23. Gaurav SuriArcesium24. Manoj NarangMana Partners25. Michael Chin & Neill PenneyThomson Reuters
26. Robert SloanS3 Partners27. Anton Katz & Stephen MockAQR Capital Management28. Donal ByrneCorvil29. Stu TaylorAlgomi30. Alfred EskandarPortware
31. Steven RandichFinancial Industry Regulatory Authority32. R. Cromwell CoulsonOTC Markets Group33. Peter MaragosDash Financial34. John FawcettQuantopian35. Donald
Ross III
PDQ Enterprises
36. Jennifer NayarVela Trading Technologies37. Dan RajuTradier38. Susan EstesOpenDoor Trading39. David MercerLMAX Exchange40. Oki MatsumotoMonex Group