Member: Deutsche Börse AG
Nominee’s name: Heike Eckert
Nominee’s job title: Member of the Executive Board of Deutsche Börse AG.
1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job:
Heike has been a member of the executive board of Deutsche Börse AG since 1 July 2020, responsible for the areas of HR and Compliance. In this capacity, she drives all people and compliance matters for over 10,000 Deutsche Börse Group colleagues in 30 different countries.
2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):
Before her appointment to the executive board of Deutsche Börse AG, Heike spent 25 year in the derivatives industry and was instrumental in rolling out electronic trading in the U.S. in the late 90s. After being responsible for customer acquisition, product marketing and customer support for Eurex in the U.S. for many years, Heike joined Eurex Clearing in 2010, where from 2013 onwards she served on the executive board as Chief Operating Officer and from 2016 as its Deputy CEO. In July 2020, Heike was appointed member to the executive board of Deutsche Börse AG, responsible for HR & Compliance.
She graduated from the University of Kiel, Germany, and holds a degree in economics with a major in econometrics.
Besides her role at Deutsche Börse, she serves on the boards of directors of European Energy Exchange AG, European Commodities Clearing AG (chairwoman) and ISS Holdco Inc. and sits on the Economic Advisory Board of Fraport AG.
3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021 (ie why should you be on this list):
I spent most of my career working on helping grow the derivatives business of Eurex, which is part of Deutsche Börse Group. Taking over the responsibility for the HR & Compliance division was quite a radical change of focus. That new perspective reinforced my understanding that the people who are driving our success with their work and commitment are our greatest asset. Therefore, we have made it the aim of our people strategy to empower our people and create a sustainable working model and culture. I am happy that we were able to take a number of important steps in this regard in 2021.
Being a big promoter of diversity and inclusion, I am very proud that we have come quite a long way at Deutsche Börse over the last year towards our goal of creating a fully inclusive work environment. Amongst other efforts, we have set up a Group-wide Diversity & Inclusion Council. Its members represent our different minorities and work together with our many local resource groups and internal networks to meet our diversity goals as a Group. It was certainly a personal highlight for me last year to take over the role of chairwoman to the Council and executive sponsor for our various diversity networks. Our colleagues around the globe cooperating and collaborating on these important matters is a very efficient way for me to get direct and unmediated feedback so we can find sustainable and meaningful solutions.
In terms of challenges we, as well as everyone around the world, had to concentrate to adapt to the continuously changing requirements imposed on us and our people by the ongoing pandemic. Keeping our people engaged and attached to our corporate values, despite them having to work remotely for the better part of two years now, is very important to me. We have accompanied our people very closely and set-up additional programmes for their wellbeing and corporate belonging since the beginning of the pandemic.
4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success:
When you go through life with your eyes open, you will come across many inspiring situations and people – both in your private as well as professional environment. During my career, I have benefited from many mentors and I felt particularly inspired and encouraged by the people who taught me to take sensible risks and tackle problems, and not to shy away from pursuing good ideas just because you might encounter obstacles along the way. I also always admired leaders who stepped aside to lift me up – something that inspired me to give back and use my influence to promote equity through my personal daily actions and support those around me who are doing valuable work, regardless of their identities and backgrounds.
5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:
Our world evolves thanks to great ideas and innovation. Therefore, if you have an idea you truly believe in, stand up for it. You will most certainly encounter people who disagree or even aim to discourage you. Where I have the opportunity, I always encourage the people I work with to work independently and take responsibility. Obstacles are there to be overcome. Criticism – both constructive and unreasonable – can trigger learning. It is most important to stay true to yourself and your values. Be authentic, trust yourself, be brave and never wait to be asked before you offer a valid thought or idea.
The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.