Sir Brian Williamson quits as Liffe chairman

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The Independent Online

Sir Brian Williamson is to stand down as chairman of Liffe, the derivatives exchange he turned into one of the most successful international trading platforms before selling it to Euronext for £555m in December 2001.

Sir Brian will continue to serve on the supervisory board of Euronext, the bourse which combines the Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Lisbon exchanges.

The company said Sir Brian would step down in July from the day-to-day running of the London futures market because Dutch corporate governance guidelines advise against individuals sitting both on the supervisory board of a company and also chairing one of its subsidiary businesses.

Euronext asked Sir Brian, 58, to remain in place for a year after buying the business to help with integration. He has chaired Liffe twice from 1985 to 1988 and since 1998.

The second time around, Sir Brian, together with Liffe's chief executive, Hugh Freedberg, created Liffe Connect, the electronic trading platform, which Euronext and exchanges in the US and Japan use.

Sir Brian and Mr Freedberg are also credited with having got a good price from Euronext, which triumphed in a tense bidding battle for Liffe with the London Stock Exchange.

Sir Brian predicted the deal would be the first of a number of large mergers of international exchanges. "It will probably not come from the boards of exchanges themselves, but from their shareholders. Those boards which respond to this – like Liffe's board did – will be successful," he said.

Sir Brian had been widely touted as the successor of Don Cruickshank, the chairman of the LSE, who is stepping down later this year. The Exchange said last week that Chris Gibson-Smith, a veteran of the oil industry, would step into the chairman's role.

Euronext's annual report showed Sir Brian was paid €1.06m (£724,880) in salary and bonuses last year.