Exclusive: HKEx offers LME CEO job to Triland Metals executive Martin Pratt - sources

Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:03am EDT
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By Josephine Mason and Susan Thomas

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd (HKEx) (0388.HK: Quote) has offered the job of London Metal Exchange chief executive to Martin Pratt, two sources familiar with the matter said, picking a veteran broker to lead the bourse through the most tumultuous period in its 136-year history.

The 42-year-old Pratt, now chief operating office at Triland Metals Ltd, a non-ferrous metals futures broker owned by Japan's Mitsubishi Corp (8058.T: Quote), was chosen over the LME's own chief operating officer, Diarmuid O'Hegarty, and Garry Jones, a former CEO of NYSE Liffe, the sources said.

In Pratt, the HKEx is tapping an experienced metals trader who has both knowledge of the LME's complex trading structure and sufficient distance from the crisis over warehousing that has engulfed the exchange. Pratt would replace outgoing chief Martin Abbott, who announced plans to leave in June.

The LME and owner HKEx declined to comment.

Picking a market insider over an exchange industry executive may reflect the unique challenges ahead for the new CEO, arguably the most important job in global metals trading.

Pratt has spent his career trading commodities and working for LME ring dealers, firms that can trade in the exchange's open-outcry trading floor known as the ring. Before stepping into the COO job at Triland in January 2007 he worked for well-known brokers Natixis and Sucden.

Industry sources said Pratt's experience in soft commodities would help HKEx extend its reach outside of metals, while his high profile in the industry also worked to his advantage.

"They've got load of exchange experience at HKEx. What they don't have is metals experience," said one senior industry source in Singapore.   Continued...

Men walk past the London Metal Exchange (LME) in London, July 22, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett