Brian Williamson, a former chairman of the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange, is one of the leading lights of the derivatives business in Europe. An Irishman by birth and a graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, Williamson began his career in the mid-1970s, trading financial futures in Chicago for Gerrard & National. In1982, he helped found GNI, a commodities brokerage and became chairman in 1985. Williamson was a member of the original working party that established Liffe in 1982 and he served as its chairman from 1985 to 1988. After the exchange failed to keep the bund contract and was facing a potentially fatal loss of business to Eurex, he returned toLiffe for a second stint as chairman from 1998 to 2003. Under his famously pragmatic and no-nonsense leadership, the exchange underwent a profound restricting, abandoning open outcry in favor of electronic trading and converting itself into a profit-oriented organization owned by shareholders. His career is a testament to the importance of embracing technological change, even when it means overturning conventional business practices.