Luke McElnea was heralded as CEO at Optiver Asia Pacific, because he was coming from the IT. He succeeded Paul Hilgers as CEO of Optiver APAC in Sydney. Hilgers went to lead the Optiver group from the headquarters in Amsterdam.


Optiver’s annual report calls it a milestone that a developer became the chief in Australia. “It’s indicative of Optiver’s culture”, it says in the report (which is a good read btw). Usually traders have more luck to get the CEO role. And become victims of the Peter Principle. As the Dutch football coach Co Adriaanse was quoted when Marco van Basten became coach ; “A good horse isn’t necessarily a good horseman”.

Shown the door

Back to Luke McElnea. Alas. It didn’t work out. Within two years at the job, he was shown the door. Developer turned CEO turned exit. Painful for a company milestone. The recent departure of the CRO (Chief Risk Officer) may have got something to do with it. Key people leaving doesn’t look good for management.

Of course, a lot of senior partners at Optiver have left (or been made to leave) this year. Not necessarily a bad thing, to judge people by their (recent) contribution to the firm. Hilgers is not afraid to take action.

Profits up at Optiver APAC

The results for the Optiver will probably beat last year’s. The trading income from the APAC region alone has been close to €500 million. Last year, the whole Optiver group earned €805 million (comparing revenues, not profits). The group regional headquarters is in Sydney, but there are offices too in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The mainland China office employs around 25 people, down from 35 earlier this year.

Merry Christmas and happy 2016

With a few days left, we can say it was a very interesting year. I’m sure next year will have interesting developments as well. Best wishes to everybody, and take it easy with the fireworks!