By Carol J. Loomis, senior editor-at-large
FORTUNE -- Larry Leibowitz said in late November that he'd be leaving the job of chief operating officer of the New York Stock Exchange, and the news got headlines in the New York Post. And just why? Because Leibowitz is the brother of The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and therefore experienced celebrity ruboff.
But there's actually a riveting story underlying the departure of Leibowitz and other Big Board executives, one that concerns the NYSE itself. It's in the leadoff stages of a disruptive merger, which rates particular interest because it pairs an upstart and an old-line company. The acquirer is ICE, out of Atlanta and headed by Jeffrey Sprecher, and the acquiree is the exchange's parent, NYSE Euronext. They're in the latest Fortune, in an article called The ICE Man Cometh.
Having made his improbable deal, Sprecher, 58, naturally has people he wants to install at the top—and he did, in fact, bring a COO, Chuck Vice, with him. Sprecher also has thoughts of making the venerable Big Board into the kind of lean machine ICE has always been.
ICE has just over 1,000 employees; NYSE has been pushing 4,000, including contract employees. "The question is," says Sprecher, "can a 1,000-employee company impart its culture to a 4,000-employee company?"
Asked about his own hours on the job, Sprecher says he gets to work at 8:00 a.m. and stays until 8:00 p.m. "I don't know how to manage," he adds. "I just try to set an example."
Right there with him in his 12-hour days, by the way, is his wife, Kelly Loeffler, 43. She has worked for ICE since 2002 and been married to Sprecher since 2004. Today -- this kind of arrangement is clearly not too common in corporate America -- she's a member of his management team. She ran marketing, communications, and investor relations at ICE before the merger and is now doing the same at the combined company.
Sprecher says that whenever ICE has bought a company -- and that's happened aplenty -- he's found a cadre of people eager to work and take on more responsibility.
He'll be trying to spot them at the exchange, for sure, because its onetime preeminence as a trading venue has been shattered over the last 15 years by new Securities and Exchange rules that encouraged competition in the markets and transformed them into kind of a shopping bazaar. Sprecher bought into this problem knowing it existed. Now the challenge before him is to find the right people, and the right plan, to fix it.
NYSE gets Twitter... and the title.
FORTUNE -- This must be a pretty rough morning over at the NASDAQ.
First, chief rival NYSE managed to bring Twitter (TWTR) public without any of the tech snafus that NASDAQ suffered through last year with Facebook (FB). Now, NYSE gets to rub even more salt in the wound, thanks to this new Thomson Reuters infographic:
It is worth noting, however, that NASDAQ has making inroads in MOREDan Primack - Nov 7, 2013 11:46 AM ET
NYSE chief Duncan Niederauer and his top aides could soon be crying all the way to the bank.
Niederauer (right) will walk away with $34 million in change-of-control payments should the Nasdaq (NDAQ) and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) succeed in wresting Niederauer's NYSE Group (NYX) from the arms of its chosen suitor, Germany's Deutsche Boerse.
His top five lieutenants will make $61 million if they depart under a Nasdaq takeover – including MOREColin Barr - Apr 1, 2011 11:00 AM ET
Although regulators have put small changes in place in the U.S. markets since last May's flash crash, our hyper-wired interconnected markets still aren't equipped to prevent another one.
By David Leinweber, contributor
There are more than a few weird moments in the history of markets and computers. Two UCLA students used 125 stock board messages to send a dead penny stock up more than 106,600% one morning more than a MOREFeb 22, 2011 11:47 AM ET
Did someone neglect to remind Duncan Niederauer that people are anxious about jobs nowadays?
You might wonder after the NYSE Euronext (NYX) CEO's snappish performance at Tuesday's press conference announcing the $10 billion tie-up of the NYSE and Frankfurt's Deutsche Boerse.
By his own admission, Niederauer turned "snippy" after being asked how the deal will change the NYSE. He badgered naysaying reporters about focusing on possible job cuts at the expense of what he naturally sees as the MOREColin Barr - Feb 15, 2011 2:12 PM ET
Today's $10.15 billion merger agreement between Germany's Deutsche Boerse and New York's NYSE Euronext (NYX) ranks as the fourth-largest exchange merger in history, according to Thomson Reuters.
It is the second-largest deal between exchanges based in different countries, following the $10.2 billion deal that merged NYSE Group with Euronext back in 2006.
Overall, Thomson Reuters reports that there has been $104 billion in exchange-related M&A in the past 10 years, of which 59% is MOREDan Primack - Feb 15, 2011 12:23 PM ET
Tuesday's $10 billion merger will mean big bucks for some top stock exchange executives – even ones who don't join the new company.
Frankfurt's Deutsche Boerse said Tuesday it will take over the NYSE's parent, NYSE Euronext (NYX), creating the biggest global stock and derivatives trading platform. The deal also stands to make some top NYSE execs rich as they cash in on provisions in their employment contracts that pay out MOREColin Barr - Feb 15, 2011 11:58 AM ET
What's in a name? Nothing, in the curious case of the $10 billion exchange megadeal unveiled Tuesday.
Frankfurt's Deutsche Boerse will acquire NYSE Euronext (NYX) in a deal that will give the German exchange's shareholders 60% of the combined company and 10 of 17 board seats. The new company will have headquarters in both New York and Frankfurt, and the exchanges will continue to operate under their own names in their home MOREColin Barr - Feb 15, 2011 11:18 AM ET
Deal talk has exchange stocks grooving. But more mergers spell disaster for markets already tilted dangerously in favor of big companies and fast traders.
Shares of NYSE Euronext (NYX) surged 14% Wednesday after the New York Stock Exchange parent said it was in advanced discussions to merge with Germany's biggest exchange, Deutsche Borse of Frankfurt. The talks come on the heels of this week's tie-up between the London Stock Exchange and Canada's TMX MOREColin Barr - Feb 9, 2011 2:12 PM ET
The robo-stock market blew a fuse Thursday. Now is Washington's chance to rewire the joint for good.
The exact causes of Thursday's stock market short-circuit remain unclear, but the lesson is unmistakable. The regulators and the major exchanges have drifted from their original duty: to run a market that gives small companies a way to raise capital and mom-and-pop stock buyers a way to invest for the future on fair terms.
Instead, MOREColin Barr - May 7, 2010 12:53 PM ET
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