Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO, IntercontinentalExchange

Interviewed by Stephen R. Howe, Jr., EY Americas Managing Partner

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Session recap

Jeffrey C. Sprecher, Founder, Chairman and CEO of IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), is well-aware that his 13-year-old company has just acquired one of the world’s best known brands.

“The further you get away from the US, the more respected the NYSE brand is,” Sprecher said. “To non-US citizens, it represents capitalism at its best.”

But as someone who describes himself as a technology disruptor, Sprecher is ready to infuse a new culture into an institution founded in 1792. “What’s important to me is that ICE’s culture is the surviving culture. I want us to be customer-focused and outward-facing.”

Passion will clearly be an important attribute of that culture. Sprecher said that whenever he hires he looks for “anyone who is passionate about the business. I don’t care about their résumé or where they went to school. I just want someone who really wants to work.”

He carries a similar philosophy for team building. “Great businesses are all collections of great people,” Sprecher said. “Great people come in all flavors and no one is perfectly great. I like to assemble groups where people respect the greatness, but overlook the baggage.”

Sprecher also admitted to being obsessed with trying to stay ahead of change and the competition: “The pace of innovation is so fast, you have to assume that whatever you’re doing today is already obsolete. You have to start thinking today about version 2.0.”



Keynote speaker
Jeffrey C. Sprecher speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Jeffrey C. Sprecher
Founder, Chairman and CEO

Jeff Sprecher is the founder of IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), serving as the company's Chief Executive Officer since May 2000 and as the Chairman of the Board since November 2002. Under Mr. Sprecher’s guidance, ICE expanded into global markets for agriculture, credit derivatives, emissions, energy, equity indexes and foreign exchange, and extended its business into central clearing. Mr. Sprecher acquired Continental Power Exchange (CPEX) in 1997 to achieve his vision of an efficient market that would bring transparency and capital efficiency to previously opaque and fragmented markets. IntercontinentalExchange was formed in 2000 and the company completed its initial public offering in 2005 on the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Sprecher has led numerous strategic acquisitions, including the International Petroleum Exchange of London (2001), the New York Board of Trade (2007), Creditex (2008), The Clearing Corporation (2009) and the Climate Exchange (2010). In December of 2012 ICE announced an agreement to acquire NYSE Euronext. Prior to acquiring CPEX, Mr. Sprecher served as President of Western Power Group, Inc., a developer, owner and operator of large central-station power plants in California. Raised in Wisconsin, Mr. Sprecher earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

Interviewed by


Stephen R. Howe, Jr. speaks at EY Strategic Growth Forum

Stephen R. Howe, Jr.
EY Americas Managing Partner

Steve Howe is the EY Americas Managing Partner, and the Managing Partner of the US firm, Ernst & Young LLP. Steve is also a member of the EY Global Executive Board. He has been with Ernst & Young LLP for 30 years, having previously led its Financial Services Office and served many of its largest clients. Steve has a bachelor's degree from Colgate University and a MBA from the Stern School at New York University. He is a trustee of Carnegie Hall, Colgate University, the Financial Accounting Foundation, the Center for Audit Quality and the Partnership for New York City.