Walt Lukken, commissioner at the US regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and its former acting chairman joined NYSE Euronext on July 10 as senior vice-president of global market structure in its general counsel office.
Walt Lukken, commissioner at the US regulator, the Commodity
Futures Trading Commission, and its former acting chairman
joined NYSE Euronext on July 10 as senior vice-president of
global market structure in its general counsel office.
NYSE Euronext said Lukken’s primary work would
be on the exchange’s global market structure,
which includes its expansion in the US derivatives markets.
Lukken will report to John Halvey, general counsel and group
Lukken was first appointed as a commissioner of the CFTC in
2002, before being re-elected to a second term which was to
have expired in 2010.
In September 2007, then-US President George Bush nominated
him as chairman of the CFTC. While he waited to be confirmed in
the position he worked as acting chairman of the US regulator
from June that year.
After the election of President Barack Obama this January,
Lukken resigned as acting chairman. He was replaced by Democrat
commissioner Michael Dunn who in turn was replaced by Gary
Gensler, who took over on a permanent basis after being
confirmed by a US Senate vote on May 19.
Lukken said: "It has been an honour to serve as both
commissioner and acting chairman of the CFTC over the last
seven years and particularly during this tumultuous and
challenging period for our nation’s economy."
Tumultuous is a good description of the many situations
Lukken faced during his stewardship of the CFTC. He came under
fire during 2008 when the US futures regulator was criticised
by prominent politicians for failing to control soaring
commodity prices, particularly when the price of oil hit $147 a
Lukken had the unenviable task of telling legislators that
the CFTC’s analysis of the markets showed
speculation was not the driver of record oil prices. Speaking
to FOW after his resignation as acting chairman, Lukken
recalled his approach to the CFTC’s assessment of
the oil market during 2008.
"You always have to think there is a possibility that
speculators can move prices," Lukken said. "Our job is to be as
curious and sceptical about these matters as we can, but to
base our decisions on evidence.
"What we tried to do over the past year and a half was
determine whether speculators were driving the prices or not.
We found no direct evidence they have. But we do think
it’s possible and prudent to put reasonable limits
The record oil price was just one of a number of issues
Lukken faced while acting chairman, a period of his career that
he described as "challenging".
"I began drinking from the fire hose literally from the
first moment I was sworn in as acting chairman," Lukken
"Everything was just piled on top of each other, from
Amaranth to Lehman Brothers to credit default swaps and the ag
markets, where we had and still have convergence problems. To
try and balance all of those with a staff that was at an
all-time low in numbers was quite an experience."
Before joining the CFTC, Lukken worked for five years as
legal counsel for the US Senate Agriculture Committee under the
leadership of Richard Lugar.
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