Reflections on the Life and Contributions of Robert K. Wilmouth

John Lothian

John Lothian

Executive Chairman

Tom Sexton, NFA President & CEO:

We have very few of these days at NFA but today is a very sad day.  This morning, we learned that NFA’s first President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert K. Wilmouth, passed away after an illness.  Bob served as NFA’s President and CEO from 1982-2003 when Dan Roth succeeded him.  Afterwards, Bob served as a Special Policy Advisor from 2003-2008.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to work with Bob was struck by Bob’s many leadership qualities, including his professionalism and demanding work ethic.  Most importantly, Bob had a deep appreciation and loyalty to every employee at NFA and nothing made Bob more proud than NFA’s employees and the success we shared over the years.  Bob was instrumental in laying the groundwork for NFA’s tremendous success, and industry luminaries in Chicago, New York, and Washington D.C. recognized Bob’s contributions to NFA and the industry.

Jack Sandner, former CME Chairman:

Bob has been a dear friend for many years . My relationship and admiration go beyond our involvement in the Futures industry. Together we have served on the Board of the University of Notre Dame for over two decades. For years he skillfully guided the University’s finance committee. As president of the CBOT he skillfully navigated the turbulence of a membership driven growing global institution.

The members, the clearing firms, the products ! Hand signals to keyboards . Technology was transforming and enabling for some but disfranchising for many! The trading floor was moving from 141 w Jackson to cyberspace! He guided much of that development and transition! He captained the development and led the NFA. Today the NFA is a critical and essential part of the derivatives landscape!

Most importantly Bob was a man of integrity! An extraordinary man , a Five Star general in our industry!!! Bob will be deeply missed .

Dan Roth, former NFA CEO and President who followed Bob Wilmouth in that role:

A very sad day. All of us who were lucky enough to work with him everyday were truly blessed. He was professional and demanding while at the same time a true friend and mentor for every member of the staff. We all learned lessons in life from Bob that hopefully we will never forget.

Craig Donohue, OCC Chairman and CEO and former CEO of the CME Group:

Bob was a pioneer in Chicago’s futures markets, having served in important leadership roles in the banking, brokerage and self-regulatory arenas. While his contributions to our industry were truly substantial, he will be best remembered by all of us as one of the great gentlemen of our industry. Bob was universally liked and respected and will always be remembered for his trademark warm smile.

Michael Dawley, managing director and the co-head of futures and derivatives clearing services at Goldman Sachs and Chairman of NFA Board of Directors:

Bob was bigger than life when I first got involved in the futures business. His contributions to the industry and his advice and mentoring to many has created an amazing legacy.  As the first steward of NFA his leadership style, approach, and appreciation for sound thoughtful regulation still lives on. His presence at NFA will be felt forever.

Karen Wuertz, Senior Vice President for Communications and Strategic Planning at the National Futures Association:

Bob was one of the best.  We lost a great one this week.  Bob worked endless hours, traveled the world, and walked the halls of Congress to educate many about the importance of our industry and the effectiveness of NFA. He loved his NFA family. He was one of the greatest mentors and a friend to just about everyone that had the opportunity to interact with him.  There isn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help someone reach their potential.   The list of professional and personal lessons learned from Bob is just  too long to summarize.  But how he lived every day is what made him bigger than life.  Bob adored his family, he was a man of great faith, his generosity was limitless and he helped everyone.  Quite simply, he was special and we will all miss him dearly.

Hal Hansen, Former President of Cargill Investor Services:

Bob Wilmouth was one of the first people in the futures industry I met when I came to Chicago to become president of CIS. As president of the CBOT at that time, Bob was instrumental in orienting me to the industry and introducing me to the key people in the business. Our relationship strengthened further when Bob became President and I was privileged to join his new board of directors.  His vision and leadership in getting this new entity off the ground was superbly executed. Over many years, I saw first hand how Bob’s knowledge and management style built the NFA into the premier model of an effective and respected industry self regulator. The greatest, and most humbling, honor of my futures industry career, was to serve 4 years as Chairman of the NFA under Bob Wilmouth’s enormously capable and far reaching hand. We have all been proud of what the NFA has accomplished. Bob, we could not have done it without you. May you rest in well earned peace!

George Sladoje:

Bob was the President and CEO at the CBOT when I was hired as Director of Finance in 1978.  Under his leadership and his example I thrived and was ultimately promoted to Executive Vice President & Treasurer.  In 1998 while I was the CEO of the California Power Exchange, I asked Bob to become a member of the Exchange’s  Independent Market Monitoring Committee. The committee, at the time, was composed of 3 full professors who taught at Yale, UC San Diego and UC Berkeley respectively.  Bob knew next to nothing about deregulated physically delivered electricity and, as you could imagine-had nothing in common with the 3 others. However, as a favor to me, he agreed to join and made the trip to Pasadena frequently.  In the end, he taught the academics a thing or two about deregulated markets rather than the other way around and he made a lasting impression. He was a man of conviction and intelligence but most importantly he could adapt to the situation.

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