Get to know Vela's leadership team
Jennifer Nayar is Vela’s CEO, joining in June 2015. Based in the firm’s New York headquarters, Jen is responsible for all aspects of the Vela’s business globally.
Jen has been successfully leading and driving the growth of market data businesses since 2007, when she served as the Global Head of Market Data Products and Business Operations for the New York Stock Exchange. She’s also held senior management positions at REDI Global Technologies, NYFIX, Omgeo, Mercator Software and the London Stock Exchange.
Jen was voted CEO of the Year by Markets Media in the 2017 Markets Choice Awards. In 2016, Jen was the recipient of Markets Media's Markets Choice Women in Finance Award for Excellence in Trading Technology. She was also included in Institutional Investor’s 2017 and 2016 Trading Technology 40, a ranking of the 40 most influential individuals in the trading technology space. In 2014, Jen was honored by Traders Magazine with its Women on Wall Street award for her excellence in leadership.
Jen was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Security Traders Association of New York (STANY) in August 2017. She is also a member of the advisory board of the Women in Finance Awards by Markets Media.
Aaron Wald is Vela’s CTO. In this role he is responsible for the firm’s technology operations globally. Aaron joined Vela in 2014 as VP of Engineering, and shortly after was promoted to SVP of Market Data Technology. He previously spent over 15 years building trading systems and market data solutions for several leading investment firms, including Nine Chapters Capital Management, Raptor Trading and Schonfeld Securities.
Aaron is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon with a BS in Computer Science.
Christopher Nagy is Vela’s CFO. He joined the firm in 2015, having previously led the Finance functions for BlackRock Solutions and Trading & Liquidity Strategies at BlackRock, where he was responsible for all financial planning, strategy and analytics for these business functions.
Prior to joining BlackRock, Chris was Head of Strategic Planning for NYFIX, playing a key role in its 2009 sale to NYSE Euronext. In 2000, Chris was a commercial lead on the founding team of Radianz, where he ultimately served on its management team holding various roles in pricing and commercial management through its sale to BT in 2005.
Chris holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Emory University.
Keith Cacciola is Vela’s Global Head of Account Management. In this role, he oversees a team of account executives responsible for protecting and growing Vela’s existing global client base. Keith joined Vela in 2015.
Prior to Vela, Keith was Director of Account Management at Coleman Research, where he was responsible for overseeing a team of account executives and a book of business consisting of top tier hedge funds, mutual funds, private equity firms and consulting. Previous to Coleman, Keith was Vice President of Millennium at ConvergEx Group. In this role, he focused on supporting Millennium’s sell-side client base. Keith was also Vice President of Millennium at NYFIX, where he held roles in brokerage operations, trade support, account management and sales.
Keith is a graduate of Bates College, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in History.
Hazem Dawani is Chief Product Officer responsible for leading the products’ vision, management, marketing, and go-forward strategy for Vela.
Prior to Vela acquiring OptionsCity Software in 2017, Hazem was its CEO and co-founder, where he utilized his innovative technology vision to transform OptionsCity into a global provider of electronic trading solutions. Over 10 years, Hazem led the expansion of OptionsCity, and oversaw the products’ direction and the company’s business development and marketing efforts. Prior to co-founding OptionsCity, Hazem served as a director in the software department at Chicago Trading Company (CTC) where he led the design and creation of their main electronic trading and market making system, and was previously a software engineer at SSI building real-time embedded systems solutions.
Hazem holds a B.S. in computer engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology where he was a scholar in the Leadership Academy, and in 2013 was selected for the IIT Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. In 2012, Hazem was named in the Crain’s Chicago Business “40 under 40″ list. Hazem was also featured alongside a number of financial industry leaders in The 2015 Trading Technology 40.
Dan Rooney is Global Head of Sales at Vela.
Prior to Vela acquiring OptionsCity Software, Dan was Vice President of Global Sales. Before joining OptionsCity, Dan held a variety of senior level leadership roles within FinTech including senior managing director of sell-side sales at Eze Software Group and CEO of RealTick EMS, a hosted solution for financial applications, where he added global buy-side and institutional sell-side customers at a record pace. He also drove RealTick’s expansion in Europe and Asia, including the establishment of a Hong Kong office. Dan understands what it takes to build and lead a winning team. He has held a diverse set of roles throughout his career, and in each, he demonstrated the ability to build world-class teams and drive results.
Dan received a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from Marquette University.
Rob Lane is Head of Sales for EMEA and APAC. Based in London, he joined the firm in 2015, bringing extensive knowledge of electronic trading, real-time services and managed solutions following a nearly 20-year stint at Interactive Data.
Most recently he served as VP & General Manager, Real Time feeds & 7ticks EMEA, where he was responsible for growing and maintaining the Trading Solutions businesses in EMEA. Prior to that Rob held a variety of increasingly senior sales, marketing and product roles across both Europe and Asia-Pacific.
Brendan O'Sullivan is responsible for running Vela’s Managed Services team globally, which spans Belfast, New York and Manila, as well as leading the firm’s complex solutions team.
Brendan joined Vela through its acquisition of NYSE Technologies’ Wombat business, where he worked since 2007. During his time as Head of Managed Services at Wombat, Brendan was instrumental in growing the managed service offering globally and building a follow-the-sun support model. Following the acquisition of Wombat, Brendan was appointed Managing Director of the Managed Services division at NYSE Technologies. Early in his career Brendan spent four years at Access Securities, managing the firm’s IT operations.
Brendan is a graduate of Fordham University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science.
Gerry is Global Head of Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Prior to Vela acquiring Object Trading, Gerry was COO and an Executive Director of Object Trading. Based in the UK, Gerry joined the company in 2008 and was responsible for global customer-facing operations, including service delivery and account management. As a Board member, Gerry applied his expertise of sell-side technology and technical planning process to the business. Prior to Object Trading, Gerry spent most of his career in sell-side investment banks working on trading floor infrastructure before moving to electronic trading in the mid 90’s and then on to front-office ecommerce management. In the process, Gerry has worked on several high profile projects including the first electronic FX Options brokerage, the launch of the largest FX Cash trading platform as well as the implementation and running of one the largest global Listed Derivatives trading platforms.
Ollie Cadman is Head of Business Operations responsible for providing leadership support and guidance to the European teams. His broad remit includes spearheading integration efforts from the OptionsCity and Object Trading acquisitions in Europe.
Prior to his current role, Ollie was Head of Product and Strategy, EMEA, responsible for driving product development, strategy, and roadmap priorities at Vela. His role also included identifying new market, partnership, and product opportunities through ongoing engagements with the firm’s global client base. Ollie joined Vela from Intercontinental Exchange (previously Interactive Data) and has a proven track record in global rollout and development of a wide range of products and services. He has an extensive background in electronic trading, exchange connectivity, and real-time data. Combined with his strong analytical skills, he has an ability to adapt to market challenges and optimize new business opportunities. Ollie has held senior roles at Citihub Consulting, JP Morgan, and the London Stock Exchange.
Ollie holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Hertfordshire.
Brian Cassin is Vela’s Head of Product and Strategy for North America. In this role, Brian is responsible for driving product development, strategy, and roadmap priorities across the firm. He is also responsible for identifying new market, partnership, and product opportunities through ongoing engagements with the firm’s global client base.
Based in New York, Brian has over 20 years’ experience in the industry as well as a solid knowledge of real-time market data, news, and financial content distribution via desktops, mobile devices, APIs, feeds, and more. He brings with him extensive experience in market data distribution and connectivity solutions having worked for S&P Global and Thomson Financial. In his most recent role, he served as Managing Director, Product and Content for S&P Global’s Real-Time Solutions business, where he led a global cross-functional team of product, operations, business development, and support personnel, responsible for expanding and retaining the client base as well as delivering new market solutions.
Brian holds a Masters of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Fordham University.
Rob Hanley is Vela’s Global Head of Project Management and Delivery. In this role he is responsible for managing the firm’s delivery of products to clients.
Rob joined Vela in 2015, bringing over 20 years of experience in engineering, software development and technology, with more than ten of them spent in the financial services industry. He joined Vela in 2015 after working in the product delivery organization at REDI Global Technologies. Prior to REDI he served as the platform lead for NYSE Technologies’ market data products and services group, and before that spent time working in senior product and technology roles at Merrill Lynch and AIG.
Rob holds a BS in industrial engineering.
Tenisha Benoit is Vela’s Global Head of Human Resources. Based in the firm’s New York headquarters, she is responsible for a broad range of duties in the areas of HRM, employee relations, recruiting and compliance.
Tenisha joined Vela in 2015 from REDI Global Technologies, where she served in a similar capacity, and prior to that worked in various human resources roles at New York Life, Maximus and Cyprexx Services. She began her career working in human services as a case manager.
Tenisha earned a Master of Arts, Human Resources Management from Webster University, and a BA, Sociology from The City College of New York. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM).
Wendy Chan is Global Head of Marketing at Vela. In this role, Wendy is responsible for communicating the business objectives to the global markets through a variety of marketing programs and activities, including the new corporate branding and messaging launched in June 2016.
Prior to joining Vela as a marketing consultant in April of 2016, Wendy held roles at SunGard, where she supported marketing for the post-trade derivatives and securities as well as corporate actions processing businesses following the acquisition of XcitekSolutionsPlus (XSP). At XSP, Wendy was Senior Director, Chief Marketing Officer & New York Office Manager, responsible for running all marketing and communications efforts to support its growing domestic and international corporate actions processing business. Wendy also held marketing roles at Interactive Data, Merrill Lynch and Muller Data.
Wendy is a member of the Women’s Bond Club and holds a BBA in Marketing from Bernard M. Baruch College.