NYSE picks new technology officer

The New York Stock Exchange's (NYSE) board of directors announced that Roger Burkhardt will be the exchange's new chief technology officer and senior vice president.

Burkhardt, 39, will lead the technology division and manage the exchange's relationship with the Securities Industry Automation, the technology subsidiary of the exchange. He will also coordinate business and technology strategies and will be a member of the management committee.

"Technology is an integral component of every aspect of our business and Roger is ideally suited to lead our efforts," said Robert Britz, group executive vice president of equities. "Roger will play a key role as we use technology not only to strengthen our existing market mode, but also to integrate new market-information and order-execution capabilities."

Burkhardt, who was most recently president of listing equities at Jersey City, N.J.-based Optimark Technologies, will replace William Bautz, who retired.

Burkhardt also worked at IBM as a systems engineer and sales manager.

The NYSE is expected to begin its decimalization pilot plan - which would list stocks in dollars and cents rather than fractions - in August with six companies. In September, the pilot plan will expand to 50 companies.

The NYSE will be facing many new business challenges that a new chief technology officer will have to address, said Larry Tabb, an analyst at TowerGroup in Needham, Mass.

"There's a tremendous effort by electronic marketplaces to begin to electronically match NYSE issues," he said. He added that better technology may put an end to the "open outcry" system, where traders literally shout to exchange stock on the trading floor.

If they have the same kind of success that Nasdaq Stock Market. has had with electronic marketplaces, with 37% of exchanges occurring online, then an open outcry system is outdated, Tabb said.

"Why do we need an open outcry system? Why do we need thousands of people to physically and vocally trade when you could have a couple of servers sitting in the back, handling all of it?" Tabb said.

He added that Burkhardt won't make the decision to change the system, but will be the one responsible for implementing the technological changes.

The exchange's choice of a candidate from Optimark, which develops electronic marketplaces, could be an indication that the NYSE is moving toward electronic exchange, he said.

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