By Kopano Gumbi

Nicky Newton-King has been the CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange for eight years. She has a long and storied career, having joined the JSE 23 years ago.

Newton-King will be replaced by Dr Leila Fourie from the 1 October. According to the SENS announcement released, Fourie is a seasoned business executive having previously served as an executive director of the JSE.

The JSE has gone through turbulent times in the last five years as it struggled to find attractive listings and high trading volumes suffered — something analysts attribute to a weakened South African economy and not necessarily to the leadership of the JSE.

“She leaves at a difficult time and trading environment,” says Rowan Williams, a director at Nitrogen Fund Managers. He credits Newton-King with corporatising the bourse and making it a more efficiently run business. 

During her tenure, the JSE also faced competition from new entrants in the market. Several new exchanges opened, including ZarX, A2X and 4AX. Still, the JSE remains the largest exchange in South Africa with a market capitalisation of R11 billion, and the largest in Africa.

“She is a highly rated and well respected professional,” says David Shapiro of Sasfin Wealth. “There was a time women weren’t allowed on the trading floor of the JSE, for her to have come to lead is a major move.”