Jack Sandner is remembered by industry friends, colleagues, and market and industry participants.
Tony McCormick, CEO of Boston Regulation
I don’t think that the remembrances truly capture who Jack was. A rough and tumble guy who always championed the individual trader over the big interests of commercials and Wall Street. He was imbued with the independent entrepreneurial spirit of Ayn Rand and liked rubbing shoulders with the guys from the Chicago stockyards and the train conductors from the Chicago Northwestern railway who came through the Merc’s doors looking for a bigger opportunity. He fought for them in the halls of Congress to keep taxation and regulation in check and he insured their future through Globex and as shareholders in a very lucrative IPO. Jack was truly a champion for all of them first and foremost and while he liked to say GO IRISH the expression he liked best was FREE MARKETS FOR FREE MEN. Rest In Peace brave warrior.
Terry Duffy, CME Group Executive Chairman and CEO
CME Group Chairman and CEO Terry Duffy today issued the following statement on behalf of the company:
“Today is an extremely difficult day for our company and our industry. It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Jack Sandner who was among our staunchest leaders, biggest champions and, most importantly, a dear friend to so many. As a long-running chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (the predecessor to CME Group) in the 1980s and 1990s, Jack oversaw the launch of critical products during his tenure including the S&P 500 and Eurodollar futures contracts. He was a true visionary who made many contributions to our industry. It was with sheer grit and determination that he also steadied the organization through some of the biggest crises of the day including the Gold and Silver crisis of 1980 and the Black Monday crash of 1987.
Jack was a passionate family man whose children meant everything to him. He was philanthropic throughout his life not only in Chicago but elsewhere within the broader community and beyond, including his alma mater Notre Dame University.
Despite a life story that began from very humble beginnings, he was able to rise to chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and assisted in propelling the company into the global leader it has become today. Jack was vibrant and dynamic and an animated storyteller who could entertain by building up to a dramatic ending like no other.
We extend our most heartfelt prayers and sympathies to his wife, Carole, all of their children, grandchildren and the entire Sandner family.”
Walt Lukken, CEO and President of the Futures Industry Association
FIA president and CEO Walt Lukken made the following statement on the passing of futures industry legend and Hall of Fame member John F. “Jack” Sandner. Mr. Sandner was chairman of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange during some of the most important events in the history of the futures industry.
“The futures industry mourns the loss of industry pioneer Jack Sandner. Jack was one of the architects of the modern futures industry, having served as chairman of the CME for more than 10 years during a time of great innovation and change, including the launch of Eurodollar contracts, S&P 500 futures, and Globex. Jack’s passion for our industry rubbed off on the generation that followed in his giant footsteps, leaving an indelible impact on our markets for years to come. I will miss him dearly and FIA and its members send our condolences to his family.”
Leo Melamed, Chairman Emeritus of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Yes, the passing of a long-time friend and associate is a very sad thing. And seemingly, always unexpected. Jack served as an important figure in the history of the Merc. Yes, we did not always see eye to eye, especially relating to Globex, however beyond those differences we were close chums. Jack and I traveled the world together espousing the importance of futures. He was a lawyer as I was, so we had a common grounding and it was easy for us to become friends. Although he joined the Merc years after I launched financial markets, he was a fast learner and understood the revolutionary nature of what I had done. This led to my efforts to get him elected as chairman. He was fun to be with. He also was a strong family man with I think a dozen adopted children.
Bill Brodsky – Former Chairman and CEO of CBOE
My Friend, Jack Sandner.
I met Jack Sandner for the first time exactly 39 years ago this month when he, along with Leo Melamed, interviewed me for the position of executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
Jack was only 41 years old at the time but he was already chairman of the board of the CME. He was engaging, smart, and pleasant to deal with on our first encounter. Over the coming months, we negotiated my departure as EVP for Operations at the American Stock Exchange and the terms of my joining the CME. On September 7, 1982, I commenced my tenure at the CME.
As Jack’s three-year term as chairman came to a close, he remained a senior member of the board. In 1985, I was appointed president and CEO of the exchange. By that time Jack and I had developed a professional partnership and personal relationship. He was an advisor and confidant throughout my tenure at the CME.
One of my favorite recollections of our relationship was that he would say to me: “you run the exchange and I’ll handle the politics” of the large and often raucous membership. That advice was a source of great comfort since the exchange was growing like topsy. Dealing with all the internal aspects of the staff, the broader exchange community, international relations, etc. were more than enough for me to handle.
Later in my tenure, Jack was re-elected chairman of the exchange, a position he held for seven more years. In fact, in its traditional membership structure, he served as chairman longer than anyone in the exchange’s history. He was pivotal in helping the CME become the world’s leading futures exchange.
In late 1996, when he was chairman, I told him that I was entertaining offers from both Nasdaq and the Cboe to join these organizations at a very senior level. Although he did not want me to leave the CME, (we had a very good working relationship) he agreed that for me, it was compelling that I would entertain these unique opportunities that would bring me back to the securities industry.
Ultimately, even though I accepted Cboe’s offer to become chairman and CEO, he was supportive, enthusiastic and understanding. He treated me with class and dignity when others might have been difficult and even unpleasant.
The fact is, that for all the years after I left the CME, Jack and I remained close friends, both professionally and personally. We were in regular contact, sharing news of family, Chicago markets, investments and politics.
This was Jack: kind, loyal, a great competitor, and always supportive. His passing leaves a big void in the exchange community and the Chicago civic community. He will be greatly missed.
Rest In Peace, my friend.
William J. (Bill) Brodsky
Phupinder Gill, Former CEO of the CME Group
It is truly a sad day in Chicago. Over the decades, Jack led the CME through their various inflection points that eventually created CMEG. His many years as chairman at a time when CME was still a mutual exchange is a testament to his enormous impact. I am sure he will be missed.
Ryan McNally, Business Development at Guava Tech
I have fond memories of Jack. He was a friend of my Dad’s as they had Notre Dame in common. Jack welcomed me up to his office a few times at the Merc. My Dad and I discussed over the years the many contributions he made and his board representation to various organizations regarding assistance programs.
One of the most high energy guys I’ve ever met. He will be missed by many.
Bob Bogda, Former Bureau Chief of Commodity News Service in Chicago
Just this morning after learning of his death, I was reminiscing about Sandner with a former reporter who relayed this:
“I remember him being a fighter, literally. One afternoon on the old CME trading floor in the closed hog pit…watching some guy repeatedly punch Jack in the stomach, as on a dare, and Jack just smiling.”
I don’t have anything as good as that!
Ellen Resnick, President, Crystal Clear Communications, Former CME Vice President/Director, Corporate Communications
Jack was a huge presence in my early years at CME, and his boundless energy often meant late evenings for those of us on staff. His competitive spirit pushed us all to excel and helped make the exchange an exciting place. Garnering media coverage and besting the CBOT (back in the day) were two of his favorite pastimes. So, the pressure was always on when it came to media relations, whether we were promoting an innovation or celebrity visitor, speaking out on an industry issue or addressing a crisis.
Never at a loss for words, when Jack got going, it was hard for a reporter to get a word in edgewise. I remember his last interview as Chairman. He kept the reporter (and me) in his office for three hours, and I don’t believe the very seasoned journalist was able to ask more than one question the whole time. We laughed about it after.
As much as he loved CME (then affectionately known as the Merc), he also got tremendous satisfaction from those initiatives that involved giving back. As Chairman, he launched Amicus, the exchange’s volunteer and community outreach program which continues today. And I recall him being especially animated when speaking at the annual lunch we hosted in recognition of Chicago Public Schools high school seniors. Jack would tell them stories of his own public school experiences – including those that didn’t always paint himself in the most positive light – and inspire them to follow their dreams and recognize they could do anything.
Sad to hear this news, and wishing all the best to his wife, Carole, and their children and grandchildren he cherished so dearly.
Michael Dawley, Retired Goldman Sachs Executive
I’m so very sad we’ve lost such an amazing individual. As a young person early in my career, I remember Jack being bigger than life. I was fortunate to experience the extraordinary time of the 80’s,90’s,2000’s while Jack was a constant presence helping shape the industry he had so much passion for. He was instrumental in instilling that passion in so many of us.
I was even more fortunate to eventually get to know Jack. Always kind and generous with his time and advice. I recall several memorable dinners where a comment by someone would naturally tee up Jack to tell a story or share an experience that would leave us all hanging on to every word and thinking about the evening long after. Many are aware of the fascinating topics he might cover. Chicago and the world has lost a great person and the industry has lost a legend. My deepest sympathies to Jack’s family and all those who knew and loved him. It was an honor and privilege to know him. He will be greatly missed but always etched in our memories.
I picked up the telephone in my office and a booming voice said “Rich, we have an opening on the board and I want you to fill it right away. I explained that my term at the CBT didn’t end for another six months and that it wouldn’t be right to resign in the middle of the term.
Jack Sandner and I met in the early part of the 80s. We remained friends over the next forty years. He never said no when I asked him for help. I was not unique. It was in his nature. Others will rightfully remember him as a great leader and the longest serving Chairman of the CME, a contributor to the cultural life in Chicago, a devoted alumni and member of the Board of Directors Notre Dame, a man of faith, a wonderful husband and a devoted father. All of that is well known but I will remember him as man who fought and stood by his friends.
Jack didn’t care if my term didn’t end for six months. He said “ Why don’t you stay on the board at the CBT and also join our board”. Both boards at once? I said that was like fighting for both the North and South in the Civil war and he would be playing into the hands of his political rivals. Jack said “ I’ll tell them to put their heads where the moon don’t shine”. I did join the board of the CME and he did get a lot of heat. That was Jack. A fighter at heart and loyal to his friends.