Ann M. Cresce is a financial services senior executive with extensive legal, regulatory, business and management experience. In her two most recent positions as general counsel to start-up companies, she has been involved in all business and legal aspects of building and growing a business. This, coupled with her experience in established companies, being part of an IPO team and considerable work with boards, has provided her with a broad legal and business career.
Ms. Cresce recently retired from her position as General Counsel, Head of Compliance, and Corporate Secretary at the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, a global electronic marketplace connecting commodities end-users, hedgers, and investors in China with the rest of the world. There, she managed and directed all legal and corporate affairs at the Hong Kong-headquartered commodity exchange. As a member of the Exchange’s Senior Management Executive Committee, she played an instrumental role in determining the exchange’s strategic direction as well as corporate initiatives and activities. Ms. Cresce was responsible for the exchange’s legal and regulatory filings with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission including all filings necessary for regulatory authorization of the new exchange. She handled all legal aspects of shareholder issues and funding matters and worked closely with the CFO on these matters. As part of the Executive Committee she was also involved with strategic marketing and product planning as well as negotiations for material business contracts. She presented the exchange’s position on relevant topics with the Hong Kong government and other regulatory authorities, dealt with all other legal and compliance aspects from implementation of a corporate governance plan to management of intellectual property, and advised the Board of Directors and Board Committees, which includes prominent Chinese representation.
Prior to working in Hong Kong, Ms. Cresce served as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the Chicago Climate Exchange from 2003 to 2009, another start-up company, where she directed and coordinated the establishment and launch of a new futures market in greenhouse gases. There, she was responsible for the management and oversight of all legal affairs pertaining to domestic and foreign business development, corporate matters, regulatory issues, intellectual property and human resources.
She also managed the legal aspects of a corporate capitalization transaction and a subsequent acquisition transaction involving the sale of the corporate stock to a foreign entity. Ms. Cresce negotiated material licensing and joint venture agreements with foreign entities and was part of the negotiation team for an extensive tri-party joint venture agreement involving a major Chinese company. She also advised and liaised with the Board and the Audit Committee.
Ms. Cresce was also on the demutualization and IPO teams at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in the early 2000s, where she served as Corporate Secretary and Director of Shareholder Relations, transitioning the exchange to a publicly held company. She restructured the Office of the Secretary to handle corporate and board matters for the new public company and developed the shareholder relations function. She hired and managed the transfer agent relationship, advised and assisted in drafting required securities documents and developed and implemented the initial corporate securities compliance and reporting program. Ms. Cresce also planned annual and special shareholder meetings, assisted in drafting proxy statements and was part of the team to prepare annual meeting presentations.
Ms. Cresce accumulated experience across major U.S. futures exchanges, as well as serving stints at the U.S. futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and trading firms. Of particular note, she was Director of Compliance and Assistant General Counsel for the IntercontinentalExchange between 2002 and 2003, served as Vice President, Compliance and Legal Counsel to Carr Futures and was Director of Investigations and Market Surveillance at the Chicago Board of Trade. In these positions and those at trading firms, she gained considerable experience in: liaising with and advising boards and board committees; managing the legal aspects of corporate funding and capital raising events; directing the handling of internal and trading compliance programs and matters; and working with domestic and international legal and regulatory schemes and negotiating agreements in Asia, the UK and the EU and managing internal staff.
Ms. Cresce received her J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance. She has been a member of the Futures Industry Association’s Law and Compliance Division, as well as a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association and the Hong Kong Corporate Counsel Association. She is also appointed to the Business Advisory Council for the Center for International Business Education and Research at the University of Illinois.
Ms. Cresce is an avid public speaker who is frequently called upon to share her insights at high-profile corporate round tables and panel discussions, and has spoken on issues ranging from trends in the futures and derivatives industry and international regulation, to current developments in environmental and intellectual property law.