Meet the CEO of London Stock Exchange
CEO, London Stock Exchange
What does it mean to be CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of London Stock Exchange?
What do you do?
My job is to lead all the different teams that make London Stock Exchange a success. I work with many different areas including technology, operations, finance, regulation, the sales teams and marketing.
One of the most important parts of my role is to make sure that we are all working together to ensure the stock exchange runs smoothly and is meeting the needs of our different customers from right across the UK and from all over the world.
What’s a Stock Exchange?
A stock exchange is essentially a market that brings sellers and buyers together. It allows companies to sell shares in their company to investors. The money the companies receive in exchange for the share, can be used to grow and develop their businesses.
For example, a company might want to create new products or build new factories to make and sell more of their existing products. They might also want to grow their businesses by expanding into new regions or countries.
In addition to helping companies raise money for growth and innovation, the stock exchange allows people and organisations to buy shares in companies that they admire. This is how people invest money for the future. If the company does well, the share price may rise over time and so the value of the shares bought are worth more. As well, many companies pay a dividend, which is a small amount of money per share, to each shareholder. In this way, investors can share in success and the profits of companies. It’s not without risk though because if the company does not do well or fails, investors can lose their money.
In the past, the stock exchange had a physical trading floor where traders would agree to buy and sell shares in person with each other. These days, trading is done electronically with large computers connecting to our markets from all over the world.
What does a typical day look like for you? Normally and during lock down?
Usually I leave my house at 7am and travel to the office. Sometimes I start the day with our special ‘market open’ ceremony where we welcome new companies to London Stock Exchange. My days then consist of meeting with the teams of people who run and manage the business as well as our customers and other organisations who are involved in our industry. There are a lot of Board and committee meetings as well.
With my team, we often discuss new ideas and projects to grow and improve our business. I also spend a lot of time meeting customers to understand what is important to them and how we might help. Staying on top of the news and research is also important and helps me make decisions on the future direction of the business.
During lock down, things are a little different. I’m doing most of these things – but from my office in my home. Sometimes, my children pop in during the day to see how I’m getting on. It’s good being able to spend more time together as a family.
What’s the best thing about the job?
I get to work with lots of talented people – within London Stock Exchange but also within the companies and organisations that we work with.
We see some fantastic entrepreneurs with great ideas. It’s very rewarding to see the companies that London Stock Exchange supports doing well and to see how we’ve helped them build their businesses and create jobs.
It’s also exciting to work for an iconic brand like London Stock Exchange. We trace our history back 300 years and are well-known over the world. London Stock Exchange is also one of the most international exchanges in the world – we have more international companies using our markets than anyone else - and every day I’m lucky enough to work with and talk to people and businesses from all corners of the world.
Why is it called London Stock Exchange and not ‘British’ Stock Exchange?
London has always been the nation’s financial centre, even back in the 1600s, when the stock exchange was first started. But it has always catered to the whole country, and these days, to companies across the entire world.
The financial district in London is often referred as ‘The City’ and there are over half a million people working there, with 1 in 59 of the Great Britain’s workers being employed in ‘The City’ .
Can you prove that finance isn’t boring? Why should young people learn about it?
Yes! Finance is all about enabling the future. It’s about enabling talented entrepreneurs and companies to develop new and exciting products and solutions. It’s about helping businesses to grow and create new jobs.
It’s also about helping individuals to invest in their future so that they can do things like buy houses, pay for their children to go to university or have a decent living when they stop working and retire.
Finally, finance is one of the UK’s strengths and employs 2.3 million people  – doing all sorts of different jobs. So you never know – one day in the future you might want to explore a career in finance. Why not start learning about it now?