BATS Global Markets has announced that its president, Chris Concannon will be appointed to the additional role of CEO, effective 31 March, 2015.
On this date Joe Ratterman, who has been CEO of BATS for the past eight years, will assume the role of chairman of the BATS board, replacing Paul Atkins. He will continue to represent BATS as a member of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee.
“I’m going to focus my interest on board matters and, to some extent, continuing relationships in Washington DC, while Chris will become the clear face of the company going forward,” Ratterman tells Profit & Loss.
A company founder in June 2005, Ratterman became CEO in July 2007 when the firm – then known as BATS Trading – was a growing startup alternative trading system with 25 employees, operating from a single office in Kansas City. It is now the second largest stock exchange operator in the world.
Ratterman says that when Concannon was hired in November (Squawkbox, 4 November, 2014) it was on the basis that he would take over as CEO shortly after.
Speaking about the future of BATS, Concannon claims that the firm is well positioned for continued growth.
“The plan is to take this company that has been highly successful in equities in the US and Europe and continue to expand that business. There are huge opportunities in equities, despite what some people think, and obviously the Hotspot acquisition is a step into another major asset class that gives us an opportunity for enormous growth,” he says.
BATS has made three major acquisitions in the past four years – Chi-X Europe in 2011, Direct Edge in 2014 and Hotspot FX, pending approval, in 2015 (Squawkbox, 28 January).
Speaking about Hotspot acquisition, Concannon says: “We plan to grow the product – we think that the distribution can get bigger and there’s some enhancements that we can do to the technology without doing a complete replacement.”
Ken Schiciano, a managing director at TA Associates, which invested in BATS in August 2013, is backing Concannon to succeed in this new position.
“I’ve known Chris for 15 years going back to Instinet and Island ECN. We were impressed with him then and he obviously has a great track record with the firms that he’s held senior leadership positions at, most recently Virtu and Nasdaq,” says Schiciano.
The appointment of Concannon as CEO has led to speculation that BATS could be considering another attempt at an IPO. However, both Schiciano and Concannon say that this is not in the company’s immediate plans.
“We as a company have a lot more growth opportunities in the here and now where there’s organic growth in FX and equities. So I’d like to see a long runway for us to execute on the strategies that we have at hand. At some point the company may consider changing its equity make up and becoming a public company but that’s definitely not a focus in the here and now,” says Concannon.
When asked what conditions would be needed for BATS to consider an IPO, Schiciano says: “The environment needs to be good and I think that we need to see the benefits of the Hotspot acquisition and merger begin to demonstrate themselves in the financial results both in terms of top line and bottom synergy realisation.
“I’m not going to speculate on how long this will take be – we’re long term and patient investors,” he says.
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