Mirek steps down from Currenex

Lori Mirek, chief executive of Currenex, has stepped down following a raft of senior management changes at the foreign exchange trading portal. The development was viewed as a shock by many forex market participants – Mirek was one of the best-known faces in the market.

Details regarding the departure are scant, but a spokesperson for Currenex told RiskNews’ sister publication FX Week that Mirek left for “personal reasons". Clifford Lewis, a former senior executive at the Chicago Board of Trade, was named as Currenex’s new chief executive and chairman.

The departure of Mirek at the end of 2002 marks a year that saw a near 100% senior staff turnover at Currenex. In March, marketing director and vice-president Karen Steele and chief financial officer Mitchell Liss left the company. They were followed in September by Roddy Boulton, managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Jim Kleckner, chief technology officer.

Rob Fisher, formerly Boulton’s deputy, took over his position, while Matthew Arrott was promoted to chief technology officer following Kleckner’s departure.

Meanwhile, the firm should announce today that it has secured its final round of financing with investments from TH Lee Putnam Ventures and the Royal Dutch Shell Group. Jim Brown, managing director, TH Lee Global Internet Managers, said: "TH Lee Putnam Ventures is pleased to increase our ownership in Currenex and is committed to further enhance the Currenex offering by funding strategic acquisitions in the future that will complement the platform."

Although the company would not disclose details of the investment, Lewis said funds should take the company into profitability and may be used for buyouts. "We have acquisition money – we are not just focusing on organic growth and we are looking to add some companies that bring additional value to our clients and services," Lewis said. "We are not a philanthropic organisation or a co-op."

Lewis would not be drawn on what companies Currenex may target, but an announcement is expected in the coming months. The funds will also be used to develop the company’s platform further, Lewis said. Currenex is placing a significant emphasis on its prime brokerage offering, which it believes will help snare increased institutional business. "Prime brokerage is one of the key areas for us," Lewis said. "Prime brokerage has the ability to dramatically reduce dealing costs."

The company made its first foray into prime brokerage in November 2001, when it unveiled plans for its Enhanced Market Access product. The current product builds on that platform.

Currenex’s strongest region remains the European market, Lewis said. He added that Currenex would increase its focus on growth in Asia.

The company also plans to relocate its headquarters from Menlo Park California to New York. "We are four years old and it was time to make the transition," Lewis said. "The California HQ was used to build our technology, which we wholly own, but New York and London are the FX centres of the world."

Lewis added that technology staff would remain in California and no job losses would result from the move. Lewis will divide his time between the London and New York operations.

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