As we are in the midst of Women’s History month, today we are taking a look at Rosemary McFadden, the first female president of any stock or futures exchange in the United States.
McFadden was born in Scotland and raised in New Jersey, where she and her siblings were encouraged to obtain as much education as possible. McFadden received her undergraduate and Master’s degree from Rutgers University and her law degree from Seton Hall.
McFadden began her career at the Mercantile Exchange as a staff lawyer and later Vice President before being appointed to President. During a time when Wall Street wasn’t a women’s world, many were surprised by the decision to name a woman to the role that had long been held by men. While people didn’t doubt her ability, it was the transformation of the tradition that was most surprising. It proved the Mercantile Exchange innovative and progressive, with nearly half of the senior staff, at that time, women. McFadden was the president of the New York Mercantile Exchange from 1984-1989. Throughout her tenure at the NYMEX new crude, heating oil and gasoline option contracts and propane futures contract were introduced and the number of contracts traded on the exchange jumped from 5 million to 34 million.
After her resignation as the Exchange President, McFadden served as an advisor to the board and later held roles at Price Waterhouse, Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette and Credit Suisse, First Boston. Most recently, McFadden was the Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff of Jersey City, where she is also dedicated to changing the lives of the children who live there, working closely with St. Anthony’s High School, the Boys’ and Girls’ Club and St. Benedicts Preparatory school.
Once asked if she could change one thing today, what would that be, she replied “It would be that more women occupy the "C" suites, have parity on Boards of Directors of Fortune 500 companies and holding more senior elected offices. We are starting to see progress -- but it is still incremental.” We thank you, Rosemary McFadden, for paving the way for women in Finance, being brave enough to hold the role that no women held before you, for starting the change.
*photo credit: Rutgers University