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Change at the Top as Gross Exits SIX Group and Zeller is Elected Chairman

Thomas Gross, CEO of the Financial Information division at SIX Group, will leave the company tomorrow, Wednesday 5 June 2013, after four years in the role. Gross told a board meeting of his decision to leave the group last week. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Marcel Bättig, COO of the business.

The departure of Gross is not the only change at the top of the group, with a general meeting of shareholders held last week electing Alexandre Zeller as chairman of the board of directors. Zeller replaces Peter Gomez, who has been chairman for seven year and plans to return to academic projects. Zeller was most recently CEO at HSBC Private Bank (Switzerland) and regional CEO of HSBC Global Private Bank EMEA.

SIX declined to detail reasons for Gross’s resignation, saying only that he is leaving to ‘pursue a new direction in his career’. Since he became CEO of the Financial Information division in April 2009, Gross has led the rebrand of SIX Telekurs to SIX Financial Information in April 2012, driven up the number of financial instruments covered by the business and driven down the costs of data production. Under his leadership, the Financial Information division also improved 2012 financial results that show a 3% gain in operating income of Swiss francs 323.7 million and an operating profit increased by 31% to a deficit of Swiss francs 17.9 million. The 2012 results show a growth in services, predominantly reference data services, which grew 5.8%. Market data slipped form 4.3% growth in the previous year to 3.4%, while customised software solutions based on standard reference and market date turned an 11.6% decline in the previous year into a 3.1% gain in 2012. In terms of geographies, the financial data business grew revenue by 17% in the UK, 15% in the US and 1.6% in Germany, with Germany the only major country showing a slowdown in growth.

Perhaps one disappointment for Gross during his tenure as CEO was the premature end of a four-year internal infrastructure project that started at the end of 2010 and was designed to overhaul the IT infrastructure within the Financial Information business to optimise its operational reliability and support the introduction of additional functionality. The complexity of the project led to significant delays in 2012 and it was abandoned in March 2013 when the company decided the tools it was using would not fulfil its expectations.

An executive search to find a replacement for Gross has not yet started and it is expected that Bättig will remain in the CEO’s role at least until the next board meeting in September.

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