July 26 (Reuters) - A veteran of Chicago’s agricultural markets has come out of retirement to become the new leader of high-speed U.S. trading firm Infinium Capital Management, three people with knowledge of the situation said on Friday.
George Hanley, a co-founder of Infinium who went on to run a separate trading firm, has taken the helm from founding principal and chairman Charles Whitman, the people said. They declined to be named because the firm has not made a public announcement about the change.
Neither Whitman nor Hanley could be reached for comment.
Gregory Eickbush, chief operating officer for Infinium, said he was “not in a position to comment at this time.”
The circumstances of the management change were not clear, but one source inside the company said the change is expected to be temporary.
High-speed trading firms face increased competition and regulatory oversight, low interest rates that have hurt volume and volatility, and the uncertain global economic recovery.
A favored tool of hedge funds and other institutional traders, high-frequency trading accounted for more than 60 percent of all futures volume in 2012 on U.S. exchanges like the CME Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange Inc, according to New York industry researcher The Tabb Group.
Privately held Infinium is a household name in Chicago’s trading community. The firm trades in commodities, energy and other markets.
CME Group in November 2011 fined Infinium a total of $850,000 for three separate computer malfunctions that rattled futures markets in 2009 and 2010.
Hanley founded his trading company, Hanley Group, in 1984 and sold it to INTL FCStone in 2010, according to FCStone.
His company had “a long history of commitment to the agricultural markets” and was a “leading provider of complex over-the-counter structured products tailored for commercial users,” according to a news release announcing the deal.