Former NYSE CIO Swaps Pinstripes for ‘Silicon Valley Mindset’

By Rachael King, CIO Journal
2 April 2012

For 6 years, Steve Rubinow wore a suit to work at the New York Stock Exchange. Today he dressed in a blue striped button-down shirt and navy slacks. He’s not wearing a tie. That’s because Rubinow started a new gig as CIO at FX Alliance (FXall), an electronic foreign exchange trading platform with 205 employees. CIO Journal caught up with Rubinow just a few hours after he started his new job.

“I have a Silicon Valley mindset, I like the fact that I can walk in here and not see a lot of suits and ties,” he said.

That Silicon Valley mindset includes Rubinow’s love for innovation. One of the parts of his new job that he’s most excited about is bringing innovation to FXall and the foreign exchange industry. “Foreign exchange is a very interesting industry, some people say it’s where equities were 10 years ago,” he said.

At NYSE Euronext, Rubinow was responsible for global innovation for the 3,000 employee company. He re-architected and implemented the exchange’s global IT organization, technology platform and electronic trading capabilities, as well as the exchange’s new state-of-the-art data centers.

“I felt I took it to a certain spot and it was time to find something as exciting,” he said. It’s easier at a smaller company like FXall to be more agile and innovate quickly, he added.

Aside from innovation, Rubinow said that he’ll focus on increasing efficiency, making sure that FXall gets the “maximum bang for its buck” with technology. That will likely mean using the cloud, whether it’s one that the company builds itself or services from an outside cloud provider. He’ll also work on integrating the apps on FXall’s trading platform.

He’s also keenly aware of the risks of the job. The BATS IPO failure underscores just how difficult working with hardware and software can be. “Even though BATS is a competitor, not one of us in the business felt good about it because we know that software and hardware is a funny thing and anyone of us could find ourselves in the same situation,” he said.

For now, though, Rubinow said he’s just happy to be in his new job. “When I walked in this morning there was a good vibe, a good energy level. People are more focused on their jobs than politics and turf wars that happen at so many other companies.”