Lenexa-based Bats Global Markets Inc. has named a new chief executive, the third in its 10-year history.
Chris Concannon, who became Bats’ president in December, succeeds Joe Ratterman, who will become chairman when the titles change at the end of March.
Under Ratterman, the company has become the nation’s second-largest stock exchange, behind only the New York Stock Exchange. Its new chief executive, Concannon, had been an executive with Nasdaq, which has become the third-largest U.S. stock market, behind Bats.
Concannon said he plans to pursue growth in the many businesses Bats had assembled under Ratterman’s lead. That includes potentially becoming the largest U.S. stock exchange, but he particularly sees potential in the foreign exchange markets. Bats has agreed to acquire a currency exchange called Hotspot FX.
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“It’s just a huge opportunity for this small company headquartered in Kansas to touch the planet, and I mean the entire planet,” Concannon said of entering the global foreign currency market.
One place Bats won’t be going in the near future is to the stock market itself. Concannon said there are no plans to go public by offering stock to investors for the first time. He allowed that Bats might consider doing so in the future, but nothing is planned currently.
Bats had tried to launch trading of its own stock with an initial public offering in 2012. Technical problems led it to withdraw the offering and remain privately owned.
Concannon had most recently been president and chief operating officer of an electronic market maker firm called Virtu Financial. As a resident of New York, he commutes to Bats’ Lenexa headquarters regularly. The company said its headquarters would remain here, where many of its 215 employees work.
“Strategically, one of this company’s best assets when it faces competition in Europe and here in the U.S. is its headquarters and Kansas City,” Concannon said. “No one can compete with the culture, the focus, the loyalty and the commitment to the company that Bats has achieved being here in Kansas City.”
Ratterman was among the group that founded Bats Trading under Dave Cummings in 2005. In 2007, he became CEO by succeeding Cummings, who heads a Kansas City area trading company called TradeBot Systems Inc.
Since then, Bats Trading became a U.S. stock exchange operator, instead of merely an electronic market center, added a U.S. options market and became Europe’s largest stock market operator. The pending Hotspot FX acquisition would add the currency exchange to its operations.
“It takes a lot of energy. I’m running fast, and I could keep running,” said Ratterman, 49. “But it’s just a point in time where in the next five to 10 years I could potentially not be running as well.”
As chairman, Ratterman said, he expects to focus his efforts on Bats’ board of directors and remain “a big voice” in Washington, where he is involved in regulatory and market structure issues.
Bats recently agreed to pay $14 million to settle a complaint from the Securities and Exchange Commission over its description of complex market orders. The complaint stemmed from practices at Direct Edge, a similar exchange operator that Bats acquired to become the nation’s second-largest stock exchange.