Robert J. O'Brien, Sr.
Robert J. O’Brien, Sr., was an active participant in the futures industry for more than five decades. Among many other achievements, he built a very successful futures brokerage firm, served as chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, took delivery of the first live cattle contract traded on the CME, broadcast the first live commodity report from the trading floor, and sponsored the first woman to work on the trading floor.
A native of Chicago, O'Brien joined John V. McCarthy & Co., the predecessor of R.J. O'Brien, in 1952. He took over the firm from McCarthy, his father in law, and grew it into one of the largest FCMs in the industry.
Active in the leadership of the CME during a pivotal time in the history of the exchange, he was a member of the CME board from 1964 through 1977 and served as chairman in 1967 and 1968. During his tenure on the board, contracts on live animals were successfully introduced, the first in a wave of innovations in contract design.
O’Brien also was instrumental in changing the governance structure at the CME to make it more democratic and revitalizing the audits and investigations department, which helped attract a higher caliber of membership. He also brought the first woman, Sandra Stevens, onto the trading floor in 1966 to assist RJO and its customers.
Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaimed October 17, 1989, as "R.J. O'Brien Day" in Chicago.
O'Brien was featured in the video RJO produced to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
O’Brien graduated from DePaul University.
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