| April 17
April 17 Derivatives lobbying association the
International Swaps and Derivatives Association said on Thursday
its Chief Executive Officer Robert (Bob) Pickel will step down
from the role this year.
An attorney by training, Pickel has worked at ISDA in
various positions for 17 years and was CEO of the association
from 2001 to 2009, returning to the top role in 2011.
Derivatives are undergoing dramatic reform as new
regulations meant to make the markets safer, more transparent
and more competitive are being slowly implemented.
Pickel said that the transition of the markets makes it a
good time to step down from his role.
"With many reforms implemented or largely under way, I
believe that now is a good time to explore other opportunities,"
Pickel said in a release.
Pickel became well known during the credit crisis of
2007-2009 when he touted the benefits of opaque, privately
traded credit derivatives at a time when many were blaming
trading in the then-$60 trillion market as a key contributor to
the financial panic that resulted in the U.S. government having
to backstop the country's largest banks.
This included an appearance on "60 Minutes" in 2008 where
Pickel, sweating under the hot studio lights, defended the role
of credit default swaps but added that investors failed to see
the risks of subprime mortgages underlying the contracts.
Credit default swaps are used to protect against the risk of
non-payment by a company, government or other borrower, or to
speculate on their credit quality.
Large banks and investors across the globe took massive
losses during the crisis from packaged deals that in some cases
used derivatives to transfer the risks of mortgages.
ISDA noted Pickel's role in facilitating industry reforms,
including before the crisis. These include industry protocols
meant to facilitate the transfer of trading positions, the
standardization of credit and interest rate swaps and the
introduction of terms to help settle payments on credit default
swaps after a borrower defaults.
"Bob has been a tireless advocate for ISDA and our mission
to ensure safe, efficient markets," Eraj Shirvani, former ISDA
chairman and managing director, head of fixed income EMEA at
Credit Suisse, said in the release.
Pickel will continue to work with the association as it
works to appoint a successor.
(Reporting by Karen Brettell; Editing by Marguerita Choy)