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File photo in ITG Canada Toronto trading floor on September 21, 2008.Jim Ross/The Globe and Mail

The leader of a top Canadian trading firm is heading to TMX Group Ltd., lured by a new chief executive officer who is looking to reinvent the historic company.

Nick Thadaney, who ran ITG Canada, is TMX's new head of equity capital markets. He will oversee the company's equity listing and trading activity and fills a hole created by the departure of Kevan Cowan earlier this week.

Mr. Thadaney joins a team at TMX lead by CEO Lou Eccleston, who took on the role last November and is hoping to make the company a leader in technology. ITG is well known as one of the trading firms at the forefront of emerging and often technology-driven trading techniques.

Although Mr. Thadaney is respected on Bay Street, his hire raised some eyebrows within Canada's competitive trading community. ITG is a backer of the new stock exchange launched by Aequitas Innovations Ltd., and Mr. Thadaney had spoken quite forcefully in favour of Aequitas, which is a leading TMX rival.

Quelling any questions about its own leadership, ITG quickly appointed a new head on Thursday, just hours after TMX announced Mr. Thadaney's hire.

Etienne Phaneuf is taking over as the new boss, a promotion from his previous role as head of sales and trading with the firm. He has been with ITG for 15 years and is well known on Bay Street.

Mr. Phaneuf is taking the reins at the Canadian operation that is one of the crown jewels in New York-based ITG's global footprint. The company reported first-quarter earnings in May, and the Canadian division's revenue jumped 11 per cent from the year prior, beating the 9-per-cent growth in global volumes, although the performance didn't seem as impressive relative to the other arms because of the loonie's slide relative to the U.S. dollar.

ITG Canada's margins are also quite hefty compared with the U.S. division. In Canada, they hover between 18 and 22 per cent; south of the border they are roughly half that.

Mr. Thadaney's hire is the third major public announcement by TMX this week. On top of Mr. Cowan's departure, the company also sold its Equicom communications arm to National Public Relations. The combined company, National Equicom, will be run by Ronald Alepian, who used to lead TMX's marketing and communications team. Another senior TMX staffer is leaving the firm soon. Brenda Hoffman, group head of information technology, will depart the firm at the end of the month.

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