Melamed is widely credited with being the "founder of financial futures" due to his influence in promoting the listing of financial futures. In particular, the emergence of foreign currency futures and the 1972 establishment of the International Monetary Market at CME put Melamed squarely on the map in the financial community. However, his influence at the exchange was much broader over the years, including the 1992 launch of the 24-hour electronic trading platform Globex.
In June 2009, Melamed was named to a five-person advisory board at Infinium Capital Management, LLC, helping the company explore new areas of growth, including the potential establishment of a hedge fund.
In August 2009, it was announced that the CME would give Melamed a lifelong paycheck. Melamed would continue to receive $300,000 annually once he retires. Along with the payments, he'd also get an office and a secretary, but no health coverage, pension or other benefits. the agreement would terminate upon his death. In return, Melamed would supply consulting services to CME Group, keep all CME-related information confidential and refrain from working for or assisting any CME competitor during the term of this agreement and for a period of one year thereafter.
During his 45-year career as a CME member, Melamed has served in many senior capacities on CME's board of directors. Prior to the merger between CME and the CBOT, he served as an elected director of CME Holdings' and CME's boards since its formation in 2001.
He was both a voting and non-voting director of CME for more than 30 years and in 1997 was appointed as chairman emeritus and senior policy advisor. He served as senior policy advisor to CME Holdings' board from its formation to November 2005 and to the CME board from 1997 to November 2005.
Earlier, Melamed served as director and secretary of CME's board from 1967 to 1969, chairman from 1969 until 1972 and founding chairman of the International Monetary Market from 1972 until its merger with CME in 1976. He served as special counsel to CME's board from 1977 until 1991 and chairman of the exchange's Executive Committee from 1985 until 1991.
From 1993 to 2001, Melamed was chairman and chief executive officer of Sakura Dellsher, Inc., a former clearing firm of CME. He co-founded Sakura Dellsher with Maury Kravitz, a gold pit broker at the CME. He is also a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Technology Advisory Committee and a special advisor to the National Futures Association.
In July 2008, Melamed was named chairman of the advisory board of the newly announced Singapore Mercantile Exchange at a ceremony in Singapore. On Aug. 7, 2008, the Chicago Tribune reported that Melamed resigned from the chairman of the advisory board position at the new Singapore exchange amid claims Melamed had not informed fellow CME Group board members prior to accepting the position. 
Born in Poland, Melamed and his parents fled the Nazis in 1939 following the outbreak of World War II.
His family traveled across Europe and Siberia to Vladivostok, the Eastern Russian seaport. As a result of the issuance of a transit visa issued by Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese Consul General to Lithuania, the Melamdovich family left Russia and found safehaven in Japan.
In 1941 the family was admitted to the United States, settling in Chicago, where Melamed's parents worked as Yiddish school teachers for the Sholem Aleichem Folks Institute.
Melamed was a Chicago attorney for a number of years but maintained part-time activities as a commodity futures trader. In 1965 he left the practice of law to concentrate full-time on futures trading at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Melamed grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago and attended Roosevelt High School, where he met his wife, Betty Sattler. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago when it was domiciled at Navy Pier. He received a J.D. degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1955.
Melamed has written extensively on the markets and written two science fiction books, as well. These include:
- An Anthology: The Merits of Flexible Exchange Rates, (George Mason University Press: 1988) ISBN 091396915X
- Leo Melamed on the Markets, (John Wiley & Sons: 1992) ISBN 0471575240
- Escape to the Futures, (John Wiley & Sons: 1996) ISBN 0471112151
- The Tenth Planet, (Bonus Books: 1987), Science fiction ISBN 093389337X
- For Crying Out Loud (John Wiley & Sons: 2009) ISBN 978-0470229439
Video Interviews & Speeches
- Leo Melamed. Forbes.
- Leo Melamed: The market maker. Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
- "Melamed & Associates”. Melamed & Associates, Inc..
- "Board of Directors”. CME Group.
- Agents of Change. Futures Magazine.
- From Screams To Screens. Wall Street Journal.
- Office flair: Leo Melamed. Chicago Tribune.
- Taking Stock: Chicago's Trading History. Michigan Avenue.
- [http: http://www.cmegroup.com/company/center-for-innovation/fred-arditti-award.html Press Release]. CME Group.
- Lifetime achievement award: Leo Melamed. Risk.net.
- Vernon & Park Capital. Vernon & Park Capital.
- CME Gives Donohue A Raise, Melamed A Lifelong Paycheck. Chicago Business.
- Lewis Borsellino’s Life in the Pits. Derivatives Strategy.
- Sentinel execs settle fraud suit for $10.7M. Crain's Chicago Business.
- Sentinel Management Group Inc Organization chart & ownership structure. Naked Shorts.
- Leo Melamed. NewsMeat.
- Singapore Mercantile Exchange (SMX) announced (PDF). Singapore Mercantile Exchange.
- CME's Melamed quits Singapore exchange post. Chicago Tribune.
- The man who saw futures. Fortune Magazine.
- Leo Melamed. University of Illinois at Chicago.
- CME, Media & Me. Leomelamed.com.
- Leo Melamed on the Markets. Amazon.com.
- Escape to the Futures. Amazon.com.