Chicago Board of Trade Chief Quits

David Vitale's resignation speaks to the turmoil and infighting that's roiling exchanges.
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Chicago Board of Trade Chief Executive David Vitale resigned after 18 months at the post, following months of speculation. Executive Vice President Bernard Dan will replace him, effective immediately.

Vitale, a former vice chairman of Chicago-based

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, was hired to help transform the world's third-largest futures exchange into a for-profit corporation.

Vitale's resignation speaks to the turmoil and infighting that's roiling exchanges as they attempt to protect their interests while adopting new technology to stay competitive. At the time of his appointment in February 2001, Vitale promised to shore up the balance sheet, develop technology to reduce costs and pursue alliances to bolster trading volume.

He met with some initial success, as the CBOT went from posting losses of $5.2 million and $10.4 million in 2000 and 1999, respectively, to posting a net income gain of $19.2 million in 2001. Also, trading volume increased some 11% to 260.3 million contracts under Vitale. But he faced resistance from old-line exchange members who were reluctant to relinquish control. Vitale had floated the idea of taking the privately held exchange public in a stock offering.

Vitale spearheaded such efforts as negotiating a deal to purchase a license from the Chicago Board of Options Exchange -- which has been the CBOT's sister exchange and rival throughout the years -- for software that facilitates handheld-trading technology. Screen-based trading revenue rose nearly 110% to $40.9 million in 2001, and accounted for nearly 84% of the total revenue increase in 2001.

Separately, OneChicago, the joint venture between the CBOT, CBOE and Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is set to launch trading in the first single stock futures on Friday, Nov. 8. The product, which Vitale was instrumental in developing, has been delayed due to turf wars and regulatory delays.