A Woman Has Been Named As NYSE CEO. It Only Took 226 Years

For the first time in its 226-year history, the New York Stock Exchange has named a woman as CEO. Stacey Cunningham will succeed Thomas Farley to become the NYSE's 67th president on Friday, according to Intercontinental Exchange Inc.

Cunningham, who started her career at the exchange as a summer intern in 1994, is currently the chief operating officer.

She celebrated the announcement of her promotion over Twitter. "Since the moment I stepped onto the trading floor, the NYSE has always held a special place in my heart," she wrote. "I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization."

The appointment of Cunningham means two of the most powerful positions on Wall Street will now be held by women. Adena Friedman became Nasdaq CEO in January 2017.

The NYSE has previously promoted another woman to a prominent leadership position: In 2002, Catherine Kinney was named as the NYSE's first female co-president. But according to CNN Money, "that was at a time when the exchange's CEO or chairman was the ultimate boss."

The first woman to own a seat on the NYSE was the late and persistent Muriel Siebert, who in 1967 "was turned down by the first nine men she asked to sponsor her application before a 10th agreed," according to The New York Times.

When Cunningham started at the exchange it was overwhelmingly male. In fact, the women's bathroom built at Siebert's insistence — a converted phone booth — was still in the members' lunch club at the time. Today, the organization is still dominated by men. As CNN Money reported, "Of the 21 executives of Intercontinental Exchange Group, NYSE's corporate parent, only four including Cunningham are women."

"We still struggle to get a lot of women into finance, and while we have a lot of senior women in our organization, we still struggle to get the equal ration of women into finance generally," Cunningham said recently on TheStreet's Alpha Rising.

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