James J. McNulty

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James J. McNulty
Jim McNulty.jpg
Occupation Former CEO
Employer CME Group
LinkedIn Profile

James J. McNulty is a veteran exchange and bank executive. He is the former president and CEO of the CME Group and has served as chairman of NYSE Liffe, LLC, the U.S. futures exchange of what was then NYSE Euronext.[1][2]

He was a member of the board of directors of InterContinentalExchange from 2013 to 2015.[3] He is a director of Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago and on the Finance Council of the Archdiocese of Chicago. [4][5]

McNulty was chosen as chairman of the board of NYSE Liffe in October of 2008.[6]

In 2007, McNulty was inducted into the Futures Industry Association's Futures Hall of Fame, which was established in 2005 to commemorate outstanding contributions to the global futures and options community.[7]


McNulty is a fourth-generation Chicago, whose grandfather operated an investment bank, seemed initially destined for a different path. As a graduate student in Dublin, he studied Samuel Beckett and even played in a warm-up band for notable musical acts like John Prine and Gordon Lightfoot at local Chicago venues. However, McNulty shifted from academia to the financial sector, craving the dynamism of decision-making over scholarly pursuits. He started his career in foreign exchange at Harris Bank.

McNulty's career trajectory took a notable turn when he moved to Mexico City to serve as Citibank's treasurer. In 1984, he co-founded Hayes & Griffith Futures Inc. (later Convergent Capital Management Inc.) in Chicago, specializing in currency options—a field that initially required significant educational efforts aimed at potential clients.

The pivotal moment in McNulty's career came during a chance meeting at Skokie Country Club, where Roger Hickey recommended him for the role of President and CEO of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (Merc). Tasked with transforming the 102-year-old member-owned exchange into a profitable corporation, McNulty was considered an unconventional choice due to his academic background in Anglo-Irish studies rather than business administration.

McNulty was hired by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as president and CEO in 2000 to lead the company through the demutualization and IPO process.[8] During his tenure, he played an integral role in managing the IPO process, guided the CME's intensive technology investment strategy and helped instill a shareholder value culture and model public company processes. He assembled one of the industry's strongest management teams and presided over the exceptional growth of GLOBEX volume from 64,000 contracts per day to 1.3 million in July, 2003.[9][10][11]

Under McNulty's leadership, the Merc embarked on a strategic overhaul aimed at revolutionizing the exchange. His vision extended to developing risk management technologies and broadening the exchange's market by introducing derivatives products to new customer segments. His plans also included leveraging the Merc's clearing arm to support new Internet-based exchanges, effectively mitigating credit risk across a proliferating number of trading platforms.[12]

He stepped down as CEO of the CME in January of 2004, and was succeeded by Craig Donohue.[13][14] Shares of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings dropped 6.9% the day the news was released that McNulty was leaving the CME at the end of 2003.[15]

McNulty joined the board of the NYSE Group in December 2005 before the merger with Euronext and was previously a director of Archipelago Holdings.[16] [17]

Before joining CME, he was managing director and co-head of the corporate analysis and structuring team in the corporate finance division at Warburg Dillion Read, now part of UBS.[18] McNulty lectured frequently internationally on shareholder value creation, cost of capital, capital structure and dividend policy. As a member of the firm’s corporate finance technology committee, he designed and launched a global corporate finance web portal incorporating more than 20 sector and product Web sites. He also founded the company’s analytical resources team.[19]

He was also a general partner at O'Connor & Associates from 1989 to 1993.[20] He also was president of Hayes & Griffith, a futures-related investment banking firm.

From 2004 to 2010 McNulty was an independent non-executive director of ICAP[21]


McNulty holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts and sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also holds a Masters of Arts degree from University College Dublin in Anglo Irish studies.[22][23]


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