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roadway in landscape

How ICE’s Female Leaders Represent a Distinct Competitive Advantage


October 2022

Intercontinental Exchange this summer announced the promotions of Jennifer Ilkiw to president of ICE Futures U.S., Maria Levanti to president and chief operating officer of ICE Futures Singapore and ICE Clear Singapore, and Kate Hancock to COO of ICE Futures Europe. Earlier this month, ICE named Caterina Caramaschi as vice president, financial derivatives, overseeing its global interest rate and equity derivatives products.

The elevation of these executives follows the promotions over the past year of a number of senior women at ICE, including the current presidents of the New York Stock Exchange and ICE Fixed Income and Data Services as well as the president of the company’s sustainable finance business. Together with ICE women already holding key positions, the company has assembled an array of talented female leaders poised to take the data, technology and market infrastructure company well into the future.

“ICE has provided valuable leadership development opportunities for the women who work here,” says Elizabeth King, ICE’s chief regulatory officer, who late last year was also named president of sustainable finance. “Over the past few years, ICE has increased the number of women in high profile executive positions, providing a strong signal to our female employees and a valuable asset to ICE managers seeking to recruit highly qualified women.”

Diversity has been shown through research to drive better decision-making, making ICE’s recent elevation of senior woman a distinct competitive advantage. These executives are running front-line businesses, operations that sit at the center of remarkable, and in some cases historic, levels of activity in the markets they operate.

Ilkiw, for example, took the helm at ICE Futures U.S. at a time when trading activity in many asset classes is experiencing particularly heavy volume. The businesses she oversees include futures and options trading in physical assets like cotton, coffee and orange juice as well as financial instruments like interest rates, currencies and indexes.

“As uncertainty maintains its grip on the global economy, our ICE futures markets are a critical tool for clients looking to manage risk in this challenging environment,” Ilkiw says. “During my 15 years at ICE, I’ve had the opportunity to build business around the world in areas as diverse as Brent crude and bitcoin storage, and I look forward to applying this collective experience to my new role leading ICE Futures U.S.”

At ICE’s midtown Manhattan offices, Ilkiw is not far from another key leader, Amanda Hindlian, president of ICE Fixed Income and Data Services, which sits squarely at the center of the data revolution that has changed the way businesses work and markets operate. Hindlian was promoted to this role from her desk at the NYSE, where she served as global head of capital markets.

“One of our key areas of focus in the Fixed Income and Data Services business is on continuous innovation,” Hindlian says. “The ability to leverage data and advanced tools to help our clients address some of the world’s most intractable problems is the kind of intellectual challenge that attracted me to ICE in the first place and makes each day as exciting as the first.”

Hindlian took the reins of Fixed Income and Data Services from Lynn Martin, who is now president of the NYSE. Back in 2015, ICE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Sprecher selected Martin to build ICE’s data business by putting her in charge of Interactive Data Corp. when ICE acquired it. She responded by doubling its growth rate and transforming it into an entity that achieved full-year revenue of $1.9 billion last year. Martin continues to chair that business in addition to running the NYSE.

“At ICE, the only ceiling anyone faces is their own ability to think creatively, execute effectively and operate collaboratively,” Martin says. “I never imagined that starting as a computer programmer and data scientist, I’d end up leading the world’s largest stock exchange. Every day, I leverage those skills to help our listed companies tell their technology and data stories and assure that our U.S. capital markets retain their undisputed global leadership.”

The ascension of women up ICE’s executive ranks is a direct result of the culture the Atlanta-based company has built over its 20 years. ICE is a uniquely entrepreneurial and flat organization, a place where robust discussion and debate are encouraged at all levels, from Sprecher on down to the newest hires.

“If you have an idea, speak up. There is an understanding here that good ideas come from all over and that stems from an appreciation for diverse views,” says Brookly McLaughlin, ICE’s vice president of corporate affairs and sustainability. “It doesn’t matter what job you were hired to do. You are expected to provide your opinions and ask questions when it comes to any part of our business.”

Promotion often happens from within, and the ability to work together with peers is a highly prized commodity in ICE offices around the world.

“Collaboration is so much a part of our culture at ICE that it’s easy to overlook the role it plays in our ability to execute across teams, offices and borders,” says Stephanie Dobbs Brown, ICE’s chief marketing officer. “Connection is a part of our DNA. It’s how we work internally and how we function as a business, connecting people to opportunity in the markets we serve.”

Diversity by its nature is always a work in progress, and at ICE that work continues every day. Up and down the organization, talented women are being promoted and hired. At the very top, ICE’s board of directors is 60 percent women, setting the tone for the entire company.

For those women who aspire to rise to its highest levels, ICE Board Member and NYSE Chair Sharon Bowen has this advice: “Look at the career paths current executives have taken and engage them as mentors or sponsors. Let people know you want to be an executive and seek their advice and help in getting there. At ICE, senior women and men are always willing to help, as we are acutely aware that we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before.”