O’Brien out as BATS Global Markets president

William O'Brien, former president of Direct Edge and BATS Global Markets | Courtesy of William O'Brien/Twitter
William O’Brien | Courtesy of William O’Brien/Twitter

BATS Global Markets announced that William O’Brien vacated his position as president Tuesday, effectively immediately.

According to a release, CEO Joe Ratterman will permanently add the duties of president to his current role. Ratterman was president and CEO of BATS from 2007 through the company’s recent merger with Direct Edge Holdings LLC, where O’Brien was CEO.

O’Brien had a bumpy ride as president of the second-largest U.S. stock exchange; he was involved in a contentious live debate about high-frequency trading on CNBC in April, during which he said all of the exchanges at BATS use high-speed data feeds.

That statement piqued the interest of the New York Attorney General because two former Direct Edge exchanges actually use a much slower market data feed, allowing high-speed traders an opportunity to make moves in advance of large trades on the slower platform, with the advantage of being virtually assured of knowing which direction the price will go.

On Tuesday, the company declined to say whether O’Brien quit or was fired and why the situation occurred only six months after the merger.

Read more from the Kansas City Business Journal

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