Ex-investment House Exec Tapped as Next Tel Aviv Stock Exchange CEO

After pushing out both previous CEOs of TASE, the head of the Israel Securities Authority is said to have found his preferred man for the job.

The leading candidate to be the next CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is Gili Cohen, the former chief investment officer at Excellence Nessuah Investment House and a member of Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services' investment committee, TheMarker has learned.

Cohen is Israel Securities Authority Chairman Shmuel Hauser’s preferred candidate, sources told TheMarker. However, Cohen has yet to respond to the job offer and told TheMarker he had no comment on the matter. The ISA also declined to comment.

Last month, Ester Levanon and TASE Chairman Sam Bronfeld both resigned in the space of two weeks under pressure from Hauser. The exchange's board subsequently approved the establishment of a search committee to find a new CEO.

Hauser responded to Bronfeld’s resignation by saying that Levanon and Bronfeld “need to go home.”

The stock exchange has seen trading volumes for equities plummet over the past two years, with foreign investors sharply reducing their activity. That not only prompted calls for new leadership but for reforms in how the TASE operates, including a proposal the ISA is considering to turn the bourse into a for-profit business.

“The two have been in their positions for three decades,” said Hauser. “The time has come for new blood.”

He concluded, “We need to bring energetic, talented and creative people who will transform the exchange into an attractive place for companies and investors.”

Filling in for Levanon and Bronfeld until a new CEO is found is external board director Ron Malka. He also is serving as chairman of the CEO search committee.

Shelly Appelberg contributed to this report.

Bloomberg