LME boss reverses decision to leave after nickel market chaos

The LME said in January that CEO Matthew Chamberlain would be leaving at the end of April “to pursue career interests outside of the Group.” But LME-owner HKXE said today Chamberlain would now stay on as boss indefinitely.

Chamberlain said he wanted to “continue to work with the team on supporting the long-term health and efficiency of the market.”

The change of heart comes amid intense scrutiny of the historic trading venue following a controversial decision to suspend the nickel market last month.

LME suspended nickel trading and reversed some trades done on the day of the suspension following wild price swings triggered by war in Ukraine. The price of nickel doubled to more than $100,000 per tonne within an hour.

The market remained closed for over a week and traders complained about a spate of technical glitches when trading resumed on Wednesday March 16. New circuit breakers were introduced to limit daily price moves, sparking days of shutdowns when the market reopened.

The actions of the LME have trigged an investigation by regulators and sparked anger among some City investors. Some hedge funds that lost out are now considering legal action.

Chamberlain has been at the LME for almost a decade and in charge since 2017.

HKEX chief executive Nicolas Aguzin said: “I’m very pleased that Matt has decided to stay. He leads from the front, exemplified by his handling of the unprecedented developments in the nickel market in the last few weeks.”

LME chair Gay Huey Evans said: “The global metals industry continues to evolve, and Matt’s leadership will be vital as we drive forward LME’s strategy, look to introduce reforms that will further modernise and develop the market and continue to provide vital pricing, trading and hedging services for our customers.”

Adrian Farnham, CEO of LME Clear, deferred retirement to step in as interim CEO after Chamberlain’s departure but will now retire in July.

LME CFO Catherine Lester will now leave, the company said today. Tabitha Silverwood, the LME’s current Acting CFO, will take over.

The LME is one of the last open outcry trading rings in the City and traces its roots back to the 1500s. It was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing for £1.4 billion in 2012.

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