named Thomas Joyce its new president and chief executive officer, a position the company has been trying to fill for months.
Knight said in a press release that its board, in a special meeting Thursday, unanimously elected the 47-year-old executive, who comes from Sanford Bernstein, where he was global head of trading. Before that, Joyce was head of global equity e-commerce at
. His appointment is effective immediately.
The company's shares, which have been almost halved since the beginning of this year, closed up 5% to $6.27.
"I think it's important to name a CEO and move on," said Putnam Lovell analyst Richard Repetto. The analyst said Joyce has a strong reputation, but he emphasized that it will be important for him to bring new ideas to the company.
In a statement, Joyce hinted at a need for more cost-cutting at Knight, echoing statements made by interim management at the end of the first quarter. "Knight must be the right size in order to take advantage of the many opportunities in the marketplace," Joyce said. "Knight is still adjusting its infrastructure, and we have room to create better efficiencies."
Knight, whose profits have been clobbered in the past year, hasn't been helped by a series of executive departures, including that of Kenneth Pasternak, who stepped down as CEO in January. Anthony Sanfilippo, who has been serving as Knight's interim chief executive, will remain with the company as an executive vice president, his position before Pasternak left.
As the biggest market maker in
securities, Knight has been hard hit by decimalization, which took effect in April 2001 and significantly reduced its revenue per trade. Weak trading volume and an 18-month low in volatility also weighed on its equities business in the first quarter -- a situation that could get worse before it gets better. Both volume and volatility tend to be weaker during the summer months.