Chairman Emeritus, CME Group, Inc.
Chairman, Melamed & Associates, Inc.
Leo Melamed is globally recognized as the founder of financial futures. In 1972, as chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group), he launched currency futures with the creation of the International Monetary Market (IMM)—the first futures market for financial instruments. In the years that followed, Melamed led the CME in the introduction of a diverse number of financial instruments, including Treasury Bills in 1976, Eurodollars in 1981, and stock index futures in 1982. In 1987, Melamed spearheaded the introduction of Globex®, the world’s first futures electronic trading system, and became its founding chairman.
Leo Melamed was an immigrant child who found safety in the U.S. during World War II. The story of his escape from Bialystok, Poland where he was born, as he and his parents miraculously outwitted the Gestapo, was an odyssey that took two years. The escape spanned three continents, seven languages, the Trans-Siberian railroad, and Japan—courtesy a life-saving transit visa from Japanese Counsel General to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara. Happily, the journey concluded in the United States in 1941.
Twenty years after their inception, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Merton Miller, named financial futures as “the most significant innovation in the past two decades.” In 2010, Chicago Magazine selected Melamed in fourth place among a list of “40 Visionaries” during the past 40 years. In 2003, Pensions & Investments included Mr. Melamed in the list of 30 individuals whose contribution “made the most dramatic difference” in the management of money during the last 100 years. At the close of 1999, Melamed was named by the former editor of the Chicago Tribune, among the ten most important Chicagoans in business of the 20th Century.
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, today the CME Group, is the world’s largest futures market where Melamed serves as Chairman Emeritus. He is a member of its Board and is chairman of its Strategic Steering Committee. Melamed has been an adviser to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and has served as special adviser on futures markets to governments worldwide. Mr. Melamed serves on the Board of the Scholar Rescue Fund and the Chicago Renaissance School Fund. Mr. Melamed’s prize winning memoirs “Escape to the Futures” (Wiley, 1996) have been published in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian. He is also the author of Leo Melamed on the Markets (Wiley, 1993), The Tenth Planet (a science fiction novel,1984), and “For Crying Out Loud.” (a memoirs continuation, Wiley, 2009). He was editor of an anthology entitled The Merits of Flexible Exchange Rates (George Mason University Press, 1988). Many of his essays and lectures can be found on the website www.leomelamed.com .
Mr. Melamed is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2005 CME Fred Arditti Innovation Award. He holds Doctor of Letters, University of Illinois, 1999; Doctor of Humane Letters, Loyola University, 2000; an honorary degree in Doctor of Humane Letters, DePaul University, 2005. In 2007 he was appointed Honorary Dean of Beijing University. In 2008, he became the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the William F. Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award. Leo Melamed is an attorney by profession and an active futures trader. He is chairman and CEO of Melamed & Associates, Inc., a global consulting enterprise.