October 10, 2016 / 2:57 PM / a year ago

Acting CEO of Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to step down at year-end

JERUSALEM, Oct 10 (Reuters) - The interim CEO of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) will step down at the end of the year, the bourse said on Monday, adding to uncertainty surrounding the exchange as it battles to recover from a drop in trading volumes and company listings.

Gal Landau-Yaari, 41, took the reins at TASE in June after CEO Yossi Beinart started a leave of absence due to illness. Beinart later said he would resign and the TASE said its board would form a search committee to select a new CEO.

Since October 2015, Landau-Yaari had served as deputy CEO and chief operating officer of the exchange. In a statement, the TASE did not give a reason for Landau-Yaari’s planned resignation, which comes at a difficult time for the exchange.

The TASE is in the process of a demutualisation plan that has already been approved by the bourse’s members and Israel’s government and is awaiting parliamentary approval.

The plan aims to make the exchange more competitive, enable it to better cooperate with foreign exchanges and end Israeli banks’ control over the exchange.

Trading volumes this year have averaged 1.25 billion shekels ($329 million) a day, down 14 percent from 1.45 billion in 2015 and 2 billion in 2010. The number of companies listed on the bourse has dropped by 200 over the past decade to 453 while there are very few public share offerings.

Rather than raise money on the TASE, many high-tech companies have sold out to larger international players or chosen to list abroad, which has led to a steep drop in Israel’s intellectual property.

Securities regulator Shmuel Hauser has partly blamed the bourse’s woes on an anti-business environment in Israel as well as hefty regulations that the agency is in the process of easing. He has admitted the stock market was “in a battle of to be or not to be.”

Last month, a senior Nasdaq official said the TASE must make significant changes to its structure, regulations and image or it will run itself out of business.

$1 = 3.7970 shekels Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Mark Potter

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