ASX steps up its CEO search

ASX Ltd has stepped up efforts to find a new chief as the share market operator posted a rise in profit underpinned by robust trading activity.

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ASX said the search for a new boss is “progressing at accelerated pace”, after Elmer Funke Kupper resigned in March after almost four-and-a-half years at the helm.

In the interim, Chairman Rick Holliday-Smith is overseeing the business, with day-to-day operations managed by two senior executives, Peter Hiom and Amanda Harkness.

Mr Funke Kupper’s departure came as Australian Federal Police revealed they were investigating his previous employer, Tabcorp, amid allegations the gaming business was involved in foreign bribery in Cambodia.

Mr Funke Kupper is a former CEO of the gambling giant, and sat on Tabcorp’s board up until March.

ASX on Thursday reported a six per cent rise in net profit to $317.4 million in the nine months to March 31, while revenue rose seven per cent to $553 million.

The company reported growth across all its major divisions: listings and issuer services, trading services, equity post-trade services, derivatives and over-the-counter markets.

Still, listings and capital raising activity was lower in the third quarter of fiscal 2016, compared to the first six months of the year.

Operating expenses rose six per cent to $127.5 million over the nine months.

Mr Holliday-Smith said the group was “well positioned for future opportunities”, while the company’s technology upgrade was progressing.

A new trading platform is on track to go live between July and November 2016 for futures, with equities to follow in 2017.

ASX shares gained $1.11, or 2.7 per cent, to $42.70, valuing the company at $8.3 billion.