David Brennan is a Chicago-based futures trader and former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade.
Brennan was a soybean trader at the CBOT and served as chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade from 1998 to 2000. He was elected chairman at the age of 41, defeating his predecessor as CBOT chairman, Patrick Arbor, by a vote of 608 to 589.
Early in Brennan's tenure as chairman of the CBOT in 1998, he attempted to push out CBOT President Thomas Donovan, but failed in his effort. The attempt damaged his reputation with some CBOT members who were critical of what was described as a "failed coup." In April of 2000, Donovan would agree to a $10 million buyout of his contract and was named president emeritus of the exchange. Brennan and the CBOT would hire Dennis Dutterer, the president and CEO of the Chicago Board of Trade Clearing Corporation as the interim CEO of the CBOT to replace Donovan.
Brennan was an early opponent of a technology deal with Eurex AG, the German electronic exchange that had successfully lured the market for German bond futures away from London's futures exchange, LIFFE. Brennan would later change course and support the deal for the CBOT to use the Eurex technology. The deal gave the CBOT better electronic trading software at a time when other competitors were setting up to try to compete for financial futures trading volume, including the Cantor Exchange and BrokerTec Futures Exchange. The deal with Eurex cost $50 million, but also included an agreement that Eurex would not compete for CBOT contracts by establishing an U.S.-based exchange.
The CBOT members had rebuffed an effort supported large institutional members of the exchange to combine clearinghouses with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. This failure in clearing encouraged the institutions to encourage potential competitors to the CBOT.
Also during Brennan's term as chairman, full seat prices dropped 25% from their 1997 high and traded below those of rival Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
As CBOT Chairman, Brennan and the CBOT board crafted a plan to split the exchange into two pieces, one that would retain the open outcry floors and one that would trade electronically via the Eurex platform and be known as eBOT. However, the plan was hampered by several key issues that would take the CBOT years to resolve, including the status of the exercise trading right of full CBOT members to trade on the CBOE. Additionally, the status and ownership of the CBOT Building was an obstacle. The plan was abandoned after Brennan was defeated for re-election as CBOT chairman.
Brennan was also active in attempting to bring the CBOT and the CBOE closer together.
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