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Robert J. O’Brien, Sr.

FIA Futures Hall of Fame 2007

1 March 2007

Robert J. O’Brien, Sr.
Robert J. O’Brien, Sr.

Robert J. O’Brien has been an active participant in the futures industry for more than five decades. Among many other achievements, he built a very successful futures brokerage firm, served as chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, took delivery of the first live cattle contract traded on the CME, broadcast the first live commodity report from the trading floor, and sponsored the first woman to work on the trading floor. A native of Chicago, O’Brien returned there after WWII and graduated from DePaulUniversity. He joined John V. McCarthy & Co, the predecessor of R. J. O’Brien in 1952.O’Brien was active in the leadership of the CME during a pivotal time in the history of the exchange—price supports ended futures trading in butter and trading in onions was banned completely, leaving eggs as the only viable contract. He served on the board from 1964 through 1977 and was chairman in 1967 and 1968. During his tenure on the board, contracts on live animals were introduced. O’Brien was instrumental in changing the governance structure at the CME to make it more democratic and revitalizing the Audits and Investigations Department, which helped attract a higher calibre of membership. Today O’Brien is still active as Chairman Emeritus of R. J. O’Brien.  

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