The New York Stock Exchange announced Tuesday that, effective as of Friday, Stacey Cunningham, who is currently NYSE’s Chief Operating Officer, will become the exchange's first woman president in its 226-year history.
When Cunningham started in 1996 as a floors clerk, the exchange was intensely male dominated, and in many ways still is. Since then, in 2002 Catherine Kinney became the NYSE’s first woman co-president, even though at the time the real power laid with the exchanges CEO or chairman. Today, out of the 21 executives of Intercontinental Exchange Group (ICE), the NYSE’s leading parent, only four are woman, including Cunningham.
Wall Street and NYSE are facing increasing pressure to be more inclusive and supportive of women in the field due to the overwhelming amount of positions given to men as opposed to women. It was also recently announced through agreement with the exchange that the “Fearless Girl” statue is to be moved to a spot right in front NYSE.
When she first joined 22 years ago, the NYSE and combatant NASDAQ still controlled the overwhelming majority of equities traded in the United States while in current times struggle to hold onto their importance at a time where electronic trading is surging the markets. The biggest challenge to come for Cunningham is the increased electronic trading making the gravity of major exchanges less significant.