Leo Melamed

Chairman Emeritus, CME Group, Inc; Chairman, Melamed & Assoc., Inc.

Leo Melamed is globally recognized as the founder of financial futures.  In 1972, as chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME Group), he revolutionized markets with the creation of the International Monetary Market (IMM)--the first futures exchange for financial instruments­ and the launch of currency futures.  In the years that followed, Melamed led the CME in the introduction of a diverse number of financial instruments including Treasury Bills in 1976, Eurodollars in 1981, and stock index futures in 1982.  In 1987, Melamed revolutionized futures trading again with the founding of Globex® the world’s first futures electronic trading system. 

Mr. Melamed, a Holocaust survivor, found safety in the U.S. during World War II.  The story of his escape as a child from Bialystok, Poland, as he and his parents miraculously outwitted the Nazis and the KGB, was an odyssey that took two years, spanned three continents, six languages, the Trans-Siberian railroad, and Japan---courtesy of a life-saving transit visa from Japanese Counsel General to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara---happily ending in the United States in 1941.  

Twenty years after their inception, Nobel Laureate in Economics, Merton Miller, named Financial Futures as “the most significant innovation of the past two decades.”  At the close of the last century, Leo Melamed was named by the former editor of the Chicago Tribune “among the ten most important Chicagoans in business of the 20th Century.”  Mr. Melamed's prize winning memoirs, "Escape to the Futures," (Wiley, 1996), as well as his continuation memoirs, “For Crying Out Loud,” (Wiley, 2009), have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Portuguese.  He is also the author of “Leo Melamed on the Markets,” (Wiley, 1993), and “The Tenth Planet,” a science fiction novel (Bonus Books, 1984).  He was editor of an anthology, “The Merits of Flexible Exchange Rates,” (George Mason University Press, 1988).  Many of his essays and lectures can be found on his website, www.LeoMelamed.com.

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, today the CME Group, is the world’s largest futures market where Melamed serves as Chairman Emeritus, is a member of its Board, and chairman of its Strategic Steering Committee.  Melamed has been an adviser to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and has served as special adviser on futures markets to governments worldwide.  In 1982, Mr. Melamed led the futures industry in the creation of the

National Futures Association (NFA), an industrywide self-regulatory organization.  He serves as its Permanent Special Advisor.  In 2010, he was appointed to the International Advisory Council (IAC) of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).  Mr. Melamed serves on the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Becker Friedman Institute of the University of Chicago, and as Director to LEAP Innovations. 

Leo Melamed holds Doctor of Letters from the University of Illinois, Loyola University, DePaul University, the Tokyo based Waseda University, and Doctor of Humane Letters from Sacred Heart University.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including:  The 2005 CME Melamed-Arditti Innovation Award, the 2008 William F. Sharpe Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2013 Risk Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, and the 2016 State of Illinois Order of Lincoln Award, the highest award conferred by the State of Illinois.  In 2017, Mr. Melamed received The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, the highest award bestowed on an individual by the Emperor of Japan for achievements in initiating financial futures markets worldwide, for his outstanding contribution to Japan-U.S. relationship, and for promoting recognition of Consul-General, Chiune Sugihara’s life-saving deeds during World War II.  

Leo Melamed, an attorney by profession holds a Doctor of Laws Degree from John Marshall Law School.  He is Chairman and CEO of Melamed & Associates, Inc., a global consulting enterprise founded in 1993.