Duncan Neiderauer Is Kind of Cool, as It Turns Out

Duncan Niederaurer
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Duncan Niederaurer

Last night the American Ireland Fund hosted an event on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Duncan Niederauer, the CEO of the NYSE, was the evening's host. Also, there was an open bar.

Niederauer is surprisingly funny and charming—not traits one generally associates with former Goldman Sachs partners. You wouldn’t necessarily guess that a CEO of the New York Stock exchange, now that it's basically driven by high-speed computers, would be so personable. Or that he would be a habitual reader of Robert Frost.

Niederauer is also a good story teller.

To be fair, he had great material. For example: One story involved the pope.

Better still, depending on your view of the world, was a second story Niederauer told about Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley's joint visit to the NYSE in 2007.

I wish I could remember the details—but like I said it was an open bar.

(And 'open bar' at an evening sponsored by the American Ireland Fund means Jameson Irish Whiskey.)

Perhaps I was just distracted: For the rest of the night, no matter who I was talking to, I couldn't stop thinking how great it would be to begin a story—any story at all—with the line "It's me, McGuinness, and Paisley..."

In the absence of an anecdote from Mr. Niederauer, allow me to relay a story John Carney just told me.

A Texan named Carney is visiting his ancestral homeland of Ireland. He runs into a relative, also named Carney, of course. Both are farmers and get to discussing their farms. The Irishman has a decent sized farm that's been in the family for generations. Its edges are marked off by stone walls. The Texan Carney tells the Irish Carney that his ranch is so big that it takes him two days to drive across it in his pickup.

The Irish Carney responds: "I had a truck like that once."

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