BATS board backs CEO, will seek new chairman

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — BATS Global Markets Inc.'s board of directors said Tuesday that it supports CEO Joe Ratterman, but it also wants someone else to take on his role as chairman of the stock exchange operator.

The move comes two days after Ratterman issued a public apology for withdrawing the company's initial public offering after an embarrassing computer glitch brought trading in the stock, listed on its own exchange, to a halt.

In a statement, BATS's board said it unanimously backs Ratterman in his roles as CEO and president.

"We fully support his leadership, vision and strategic direction as BATS continues to enhance competition and foster innovation in markets worldwide," the board said.

Ratterman will be giving up his role as chairman, however. The company said that it wants to separate the roles of chairman and CEO — posts that Ratterman has held since 2007.

Severing the leadership posts will enhance the company's corporate governance structure, the company said.

Ratterman, one of the company's founders, will remain chairman until BATS names a replacement, the company said.

In a statement, Ratterman said he was pleased to have the support and endorsement of the board.

With about 12 percent of all U.S. stock trading, BATS is the third-largest stock exchange in the country behind NYSE and Nasdaq.

Shortly after the initial public offering kicked off on Friday, the price of BATS shares plunged to just pennies.

Trading in the stock, which had priced the night before at $16, was halted. And by late afternoon, BATS withdrew its public offering and said it had no plans to refile.

On Sunday, Ratterman said a system problem occurred as soon as the exchange tried to open the BATS ticker symbol, failing to roll into a continuous trading pattern as it was supposed to.

The botched IPO was a blow not only to the exchange, but to a new business for which it had high hopes. In February, BATS offered free listings to companies whose shares traded a certain amount each day, hoping to draw IPOs away from Nasdaq and the NYSE.

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