Harnessing Disruptive Innovation: Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman, CEO, BGC Partners Inc., Named Overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 National Winner
Palm Springs, 14 November 2010 – Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman, CEO, BGC Partners Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP), has been named the Overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 National Winner. Now in its 24th year, EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Lutnick was recognized for rebuilding Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC’s predecessor, into one of the world’s leading financial services companies after two-thirds of its headquarters’ workforce was killed in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Lutnick was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year® gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. The Forum is the nation’s premiere gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.
“Successful entrepreneurs capitalize on disruptive events in innovative ways, even ones as tragic as 9/11,” said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. “Lutnick applied emerging technologies to the wholesale brokerage industry, creating a business model that revolutionized the way financial data is accessed and how financial transactions are executed and processed. He reacted to changing client needs with new best-of-breed trading technologies and not only brought his company back from the brink, but built it into a leading financial services powerhouse. Howard Lutnick, with his talent for reacting innovatively in the face of upheaval, is the ideal overall winner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 award.”
In addition to Lutnick, the 2010 Entrepreneur Of The Year® winners include:
- Media, Entertainment and Communications: Robert Friedman, Co-chairman, CEO, Summit Entertainment LLC: Friedman was recognized for establishing Summit Entertainment LLC as a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio.
- Real Estate, Hospitality and Construction: Larry Silverstein, President, CEO, Silverstein Properties, Inc.: One of New York City's biggest property owners and real estate managers, Silverstein was recognized for his perseverance in and commitment to rebuilding the World Trade Center.
- Retail & Consumer: Jack Link, CEO, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky: Link was recognized for growing Jack Link’s Beef Jerky from a small beef deboning operation in 1986 to the No. 1 U.S. meat snack brand.
- Distribution and Manufacturing: Thad W. Simons, Jr., President, CEO, Novus International, Inc: Simons was recognized for transforming Novus International, Inc., from a one-product spinoff from Monsanto into a diversified, global manufacturer of health and nutrition products for livestock, pets and people.
- Emerging: Bob Moore, Chairman, CEO, iGPS: Moore was recognized for using technology to devise an innovative improvement to a stodgy product – shipping pallets – and overcoming significant obstacles to bring it to market.
- Energy, Chemicals and Mining: W. Keith Maxwell III, CEO, Spark Energy Gas & Electric: Maxwell was recognized for successfully navigating volatile markets and regulatory regimes and growing Spark Energy into an electricity and natural gas service powerhouse.
- Health Sciences: Lawrence D. Stern, Chairman, CEO, Talecris Biotherapeutics: Stern was recognized for growing Talecris into one of the leading plasma therapeutics companies in the world.
- Services: Mary A. Tolan, Founder, President, CEO, Accretive Health, Inc.: Tolan was recognized for founding and building Accretive Health into a significant hospital revenue-cycle operations manager.
- Technology: Lars Björk, CEO, Director, QlikTech: Björk was recognized for growing QlikTech from a small consulting project in Sweden to the world’s largest business intelligence vendor.
Howard W. Lutnick: A quick study with a vision
Howard Lutnick joined Cantor Fitzgerald right out of college in 1983, when the company was a leading brokerage business — connecting bond markets and government securities with its clients around the world. He made his way steadily up the company ladder, recognizing along the way that the traditional way of brokering known as “voice” — where live brokers matched buyers and sellers — was threatened by rapidly evolving computer technology.
Lutnick’s cognizance of this threat and his exceptional understanding of the esoteric world of fixed-income securities led to his being named president and CEO a mere eight years later. His vision that electronic trading would surpass voice brokerage led to Cantor’s development of eSpeed, revolutionizing the way government bonds are traded among dealers by providing a fully electronic marketplace. By 1999, eSpeed had become a publicly traded company, handling 25% of the daily transactions in the multitrillion-dollar treasury market.
Rising from the ashes
The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, where Cantor had its offices, threatened to end the story there. Reeling from losing the majority of his headquarters and workforce, including all the company’s board members but him, Lutnick gathered what remained of his executives and decided that Cantor Fitzgerald would try to stay in business — if for no other reason than to make enough to support the bereaved families of the lost. He also decided to re-grow in new directions. So, when he began to reconstruct Cantor, eSpeed was a primary focus, and BGC came into being as the Cantor’s voice brokerage unit.
Built upon heavy borrowings and aggressive acquisitions, BGC was spun off from Cantor in 2004. Four years later, the company merged with eSpeed to leverage its electronic marketplace and related trading technology expertise in the inter-dealer brokerage business.
Now dominating the global electronic marketplace, it is a leader among institutional clients and the number one investment bank primary dealer in the United States.
Family values and entrepreneurship
Lutnick credits his success in part to maintaining a unique corporate “family culture” where employees are encouraged to refer friends and family as potential employees. This helped the company re-staff after 9/11 in a remarkably short time. Today, it has retention levels above those of its peers. This supportive and innovative culture also helped to inspire loyalty in the firm’s clients after 9/11.
Maintaining his entrepreneurial, client-centric spirit, Lutnick says, “My job is vision and banking. With the vision, I suggest what to do, where to go and what’s hot. With the banking, I provide the right resources to our people so they can do their job.”
Such an approach has served BGC well. Despite ongoing malaise in the financial markets, its earnings were up 50% in the last quarter, while its closest competitor’s were up only 15%.
Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2010 National Finalists in the Financial Services Category
In addition to being named overall winner, Lutnick was also recognized as the winner in the Financial Services category. The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® national finalists in the Financial Services category are: Joe Ratterman, Chairman, President, CEO of Lenexa, Kan.-based BATS Global Markets, an innovative global financial markets technology company; Thomas S. Ricketts, CEO of Incapital Holdings LLC of Chicago, a securities and investment banking firm with offices in Chicago, Boca Raton and London; and James C. Tyree, Chairman, CEO of Mesirow Financial, a diversified financial services firm headquartered in Chicago.
Video and Photos
To view video clips of all the Entrepreneur Of The Year® winners, please visit the EY YouTube Channel. Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year® awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and SAP America as national sponsors.
About EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.
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