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Keeping the markets in line: Stacey Cunningham '96

On June 23, after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Stacey Cunningham ’96 stayed up most of the night reassuring nervous Wall Street traders, money managers and regulators, many of whom believed the surprising “Brexit” vote would have an adverse effect on the U.S. equities market.

Just one year earlier, Cunningham had been appointed Chief Operating Officer of the New York Stock Exchange Group. Now, as Britain’s choice became clear, she worked the phones to explain NYSE’s plans to ensure an orderly market opening the following morning.

Her efforts paid off. On June 24, the market fell about 600 points in heavy volume, but trading was mostly orderly.

“We spent a lot of time over the last 10 months looking at where things could be improved,” Cunningham told the financial media the day after Brexit. “We got the benefit today.”

Cunningham credits her Lehigh industrial engineering degree for her ability to think through complex problems. She says her journey from engineering to the stock market began during a summer internship on the floor of the NYSE.

She then moved to Nasdaq to run a sales team that aimed to increase trading. She returned to NYSE in 2012, ten days before Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced plans to acquire NYSE.

Last February, Cunningham supervised the introduction of NYSE Pillar, a new trading technology platform. Pillar allows customers to interact with the stock exchange using the same technology and a single API (application program interface) across all of NYSE’s markets.

Read the full story in the Fall/Winter 2016 Edition of the Lehigh Bulletin.

-Story by Weld Royal ’88, special to the Lehigh University's Office of Communications and Public Affairs

February 7, 2017

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