I thought I’d share some quick thoughts on the latest FI news – a change of CEO!

The official FI announcement is here.

What does this mean for us?

Confidence in these Changes?

So, what’s happened, and what does it mean?

Adam Cole is leaving the CEO role but not leaving the platform – he moves to Chairman. Mike Bohan, founding FI staff member and former Head of FI marketing will take over as the CEO.

Mike Bohan is known to traders for his appearances on TalkSport, various FI podcasts etc. And also some, often colourful, Twitter commentary.

He’s been at FI for 6 years, so is the continuity candidate. He knows the business of FI as well as anyone, has been involved in it since the start, and is unlikely to be taking it on any kind of wild new direction.

That feels to me like a good thing, and I’ve no real worries about this appointment overall. FI does not need major change or a total overhaul, just some sensible changes to get the previously winning formula back on track. 

If we were sitting here with some former gambling executive taking over – I might be sweating. That could mean some kind of total change of direction, even a shift away from the products USP of it being a longer term, slower burning, more intelligent (in my opinion) form of betting. But I do not think that will be the case. 

What Mike Bohan has to prove is that he’s got the bones to sit in the big chair. He’s got no prior experience of leading a company of this size at this level. But everyone gets their first big appointment at some stage.

What is quite reassuring is that Adam Cole isn’t leaving – he’s just taking on the Chairman role. Which seems a better fit really. He is into his 70’s so it has long been expected he would at some stage step aside, if anything, I am surprised he stayed as CEO as long as he has.

The change to a younger man with a point to prove and perhaps a bit more vim and vigour for the day to day operations, with the very experienced Adam Cole in the background guiding things is not unattractive.

Adam Cole may not be in fashion in a tough year but over the 5 years I’ve watched FI I have respect for the man. He has done well to turn a vague idea you might dream up over a pint into a well established business where millions changes hands on a daily basis. 

And overall, whilst there have been a few head scratchers along the way, I generally think the decisions that get made are in the end pretty sensible.

I’m happy he’s staying in the Chairman capacity. Interestingly, here is a snippet from an article I recall he did with CityAM in 2016:

“Cole doesn’t intend on sticking with his company forever, though. “Grow and sell – that tends to be how I do things. I’m not going to be the chief executive of this when it becomes a medium to large-sized business. I like the early stages – the vision and execution.”

So, this was long expected and with his age and all, you can see why this is a sensible move. 

Mike Bohan has something to prove in experience terms and I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt unless or until he does something to upset me. 

But I am much happier with him than an outsider who may have come with wildly different ideas.

Will anything actually change?

I’m not expecting any radical new initiatives straight away. 

If we look at Mike Bohan’s first communication, you can sum it up in two sentences:

“We’re going to spend more time listening to all types of trader, and then focus on efficient implementation of improvements they want to see. And specifically, we’re working on liquidity providers as a priority.”

In other words – more of exactly what we were expecting already when Adam Cole was CEO.

The fluffier language around a “new chapter” etc will perhaps be more interesting for traders to discuss. 

Maybe that is the best thing to come out of this. Really, negative sentiment from traders is the major problem this platform has right now. 

Yes, there are many more practical problems that do need fixing as I discussed at length in this weeks State of the Market.

But all of them melt away if people are confident and just trade. It’s a game where the more people who “defect” in Game Theory terms and don’t co-operate – the more we all lose. 

Liquidity providers help – but the main liquidity providers are traders. And collectively, we have more than enough muscle to keep the market going.

But only if enough people are confident. Many currently aren’t and you can’t blame people for having their own opinion.

So, maybe this will have an impact if it gives FI management a new and fresh feeling – a reason people can believe that the page can be turned on what has been, mostly, but not exclusively, a bloody miserable year.

This is just my quick hot take! I’ll be back next with Scouting covering match days as usual. Enjoy the games tonight!

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