She will take over from Sir Bob Reid, who is due to retire after chairing ICE Clear Europe since its 2008 launch. Cairns will also join the main board of Intercontinental Exchange “shortly thereafter”. ICE said that Thomas Noonan, a technology entrepreneur and venture capitalist, will also join its board.
After starting her career at British Gas, Cairns went on to spend 15 years at Citigroup and then worked at ABN Amro, where she led the transaction banking team. In September 2008, she started a three-year stint at Alvarez & Marsal, with events in the financial markets that month handing her the early task of leading the work to wind down the European assets of Lehman Brothers in the wake of the US investment bank’s collapse.
Cairns, who was named one of Financial News’ FN100 Most Influential Women in Finance in 2009 and 2010, went on to join Mastercard in 2011 and is president of the international markets business.
Her appointment comes after ICE Clear Europe said on September 19 that it had received Bank of England authorisation as a clearing house under the European Market Infrastructure Regulation.
Cairns said: “I look forward to working with the ICE Clear Europe board during a time of significant change and opportunity in the UK and Europe, as well as the chance to join the Intercontinental Exchange board to further build on the strong governance and risk management practices across the company.”
Paul Swann, president and managing director of ICE Clear Europe, said in the statement that ICE and its stakeholders would benefit from Cairns’ “international business experience, technology insights and financial markets knowledge”.