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OCC's Donohue Tells WILD Symposium in Chicago There is Work to be Done to Achieve True Gender and Pay Equality in the Workplace

CHICAGO (October 16, 2015) - In remarks on October 15 to the 4th Annual Women in Listed Derivatives (WILD) Symposium In Chicago, OCC Executive Chairman Craig Donohue applauded the work of WILD to empower women and create more visibility and opportunity, but said much more needs to be done.

Speaking to the attendees meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Donohue said, "I don't know that I have the roadmap for how we accelerate and achieve true gender and pay equality in the workplace, but I do know that there are several key ingredients for me. First, we must make an affirmative commitment to ensure that boards and management teams have highly qualified women executives. Second, companies must be willing to provide flexible work arrangements that provide women executives with a greater ability to balance and meet competing demands. Third, we must find ways to facilitate re-entry of women who have opted to spend more time with their children and subsequently wish to return to their careers."

Donohue's prepared remarks to the WILD Symposium follow below.

WILD is a group of emerging and established women from derivatives exchanges, clearing firms, investment banks, brokerage firms, proprietary trading houses, technology firms, industry organizations, and the media to promote networking through mentoring programs as well as social and educational events http://www.womeninlistedderivatives.org. Their mission is to highlight industry role models, encourage advancing careers, and collectively underscore the prominence of women in derivatives.


REMARKS BY CRAIG DONOHUE TO 4TH ANNUAL WILD SYMPOSIUM - October 15, 2015

Good afternoon everybody - and thank you for inviting me to be with you today.

I am honored to be here and pleased to see some of my OCC colleagues taking leadership roles at WILD, including:

  • Carole Bovard
  • Bethany Riesenberg
  • Kirsten Wells and
  • Mary Savoie

I'm also glad to see former colleagues from CME and the industry.

You are all truly leaders in our industry – and the work that you are doing to empower women and create more visibility and opportunity is tremendous. Thank you for being great role models for women who aspire to become the next generation of leaders in our industry. I am fortunate to have three strong women around me: my wife Elsa who was a trader and money manager, my oldest daughter Caity who is a young lawyer here in Chicago and Kelsey who ls graduating from Loyola Academy this spring.

Many of you who know me know that I am an optimist by nature. When I reflect on the equality challenges that Elsa and many of you have faced, I see the glass as half full. I see how much progress we have made in the last several decades on civil rights, gender equality and more recently, the beginning of broader acceptance of the notion of equality for the LGBT community, including gay marriage.

According to the 2014 Catalyst Census:

  • Only 1.4% of the CEOs in the S&P 500 finance and industry sector were women compared to 5% in the overall S&P 500, and
  • Only 19.8% held board seats in the financial sector versus 20.7% of the overall S&P index of companies.

A leader is only as successful as the people he or she surrounds themselves with. I am a strong proponent of promoting and hiring women into senior roles and into opportunities across the organization. During my decade of leadership at CME Group we were able to promote many women into senior leadership roles on our Management Team, including:

  • Kim Taylor as President of CME Clearing
  • Julie Holzrichter as Head of Global Operations
  • Kathleen Cronin as General Counsel and
  • Hilda Harris-Piell as Chief Human Resources Officer

In my two years as Chairman of The Options Clearing Corporation, we have added two more women board members and our new Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Resources Officer are women.

I don't know that I have the roadmap for how we accelerate and achieve true gender and pay equality in the workplace but I do know that there are several key ingredients for me:

First, we must make an affirmative commitment to ensure that boards and management teams have highly qualified women executives. For too many companies, this is not yet an imperative and that has to change.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, once said, "Women's empowerment is not just a fundamental moral cause, it also is an absolute economic no-brainer." She could not be more right. Smart companies should see gender and pay equality as not only the right thing to do but also the smart thing to do.

Second, companies must be willing to provide flexible work arrangements that provide women executives with a greater ability to balance and meet competing demands. This may mean creative solutions that allow for part-time leadership roles, job-sharing or simply work anywhere policies that help keep talented women in the workplace. We need to stop the exodus of smart, talented and ambitious women from the workplace due to rigid and archaic organizational models and policies.

Third, and I'm seeing this a lot now in my age group as my generation become empty nesters: we must find ways to facilitate re-entry of women who have opted to spend more time with their children and subsequently wish to return to their careers. We must work harder at providing these opportunities, both so we can take advantage of the talent and experience that many women accumulate over the course of their careers but also so we can send the message that you can leave and come back. Too many women leave the workplace knowing that it may effectively be the end of their career versus just one chapter of many.

It is very important for companies like OCC to embed diversity in their culture and throughout their operations. I want OCC to be looked upon as an inclusive firm, integrating and aligning diversity and inclusion into our business strategy as opposed to just checking a box.

OCC is undergoing significant positive change as we adapt to our new responsibilities as a systemically important financial institution. While we have already experienced significant growth, we currently have approximately 95 open positions. I strongly encourage all of you to take a look at OCC to determine if there might be great opportunities for you. We will benefit from attracting talented leaders like you.

In closing, I applaud the work of WILD and encourage you to continue your good work - not only for those of you in this room and for whom you will be working with at your firms, but for that next generation of women like Caity and Kelsey. The work you are doing today will ultimately inspire them to become great.

Thank you again for allowing me to be with you today, and I wish you all great success.

About OCC

OCC is the world's largest equity derivatives clearing organization and the foundation for secure markets. Founded in 1973, OCC operates under the jurisdiction of both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Clearing Agency and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as a Derivatives Clearing Organization. OCC now provides central counterparty (CCP) clearing and settlement services to 16 exchanges and trading platforms for options, financial futures, security futures and securities lending transactions. More information about OCC is available at www.theocc.com.