William F. O'Connor
William F. ("Billy") O'Connor was the co-founder of O'Connor Grain Company - acquired in 2006 to form Fortis Clearing Americas - First Options of Chicago and O'Connor & Associates. He was chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade. He died on January 11, 2020.
In 2007, O'Connor 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. . 
William F. O’Connor was a legendary figure on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. A member of the exchange since 1955, he stood out in the trading pits with his green plaid jacket and shock of white hair.
O'Connor was the son of a policeman and after working as a trading floor clerk in the early 1950s joined the Chicago Board of Trade in 1955 when he bought his membership for $6000. His brother had joined in 1953.
O'Connor spent two years studying at the Navy Pier campus of the University of Illinois after having served as a Marine.
With his brother Edmund, O'Connor co-founded O’Connor & Company in 1959. In 1972, First Options of Chicago was founded. It grew to become the largest clearing firm for options market makers in the world and was acquired by Spear Leeds & Kellogg in 1977. O’Connor and Associates was established in 1977 as a proprietary derivatives trading company, and in 1994, it was acquired by Swiss Bank Corporation.
During his career, O'Connor exercised considerable influence on the evolution of the CBOT, serving not only as its chairman from 1990 to 1992 but also as an important voice for innovation and technological change. In particular, he was one of the early champions of single stock futures and the guiding force behind the development of Project A, the exchange’s first successful electronic trading platform. He also was an early proponent of cooperation between the two Chicago exchanges. He proposed the “Futures Exchange Common Goals Committee” to explore ways the two Chicago exchanges could unify such areas as operations and clearing to their mutual benefit.
O'Connor became chairman of the CBOT in 1990 when Karsten Mahlmann resigned after being elected to a then record 4th consecutive term. Mahlmann resigned in the wake of the collapse of Stotler Group Inc., a firm he headed and for which he was the largest shareholder.
O'Connor was chairman during an incident in the financial room where a trader, Darrell Zimmerman, initiated a series of improper trades in bond futures and options that led to his clearing firm, Stern & Company, being suspended from the exchange.
The Chicago Sun-Times described O'Connor as “a tenacious Irishman who elevated Chicago’s financial markets to international prominence.”
O'Connor created the William F. O'Connor Foundation, which gives grants primarily for medical research, focusing on cancer prevention and cure. It gives also for arts, culture, and education in the Chicago, Illinois, area.
O'Connor graduated from the University of Illinois.
@JohnLothian Twitter Feed
We visit more than 100 websites daily for financial news (Would YOU do that?). Read the John Lothian Newsletter.