Where do Wall Street bankers fall in love with finance? For Cboe Global Market’s Edgar Gonzalez, it happened at the intersection of not one but two cash cows.
“When I was in high school, I worked part-time at McDonald’s inside [of] a Walmart,” says Gonzalez, now vice president of corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions. “Walmart used to post their stock price for employees to see and updated it daily as the stock price moved. And I remember being fascinated by the concept of Walmart share price and what made it increase over time.”
In a sea of savings-obsessed Americans, teenage Gonzalez spotted the hottest commodity. It wasn’t the burgers he flipped, nor the fries that customers wanted with them. But the $WMT ticker represented an abundance of value and opportunity that inspired Gonzalez to live, breathe, and eat markets.
Gonzalez became the kind of highschooler who won their class’s stock trading competition. He graduated from Princeton University and started his career as an investment banker with Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Securities. Then he carved out time to earn his MBA from the University of Chicago, which allowed him and his wife to be students together. While she got her PhD he got his foot in the door at Goldman Sachs. Before he knew it, he rose up in the ranks and got promoted to vice president.
He had finally arrived. However, as he evaluated a more senior path in investment banking, Gonzalez reconsidered his options and pivoted to a career in corporate M&A where he felt his demeanor and skill set were a much better fit. He spent three years as a managing director at Nuveen, an asset manager owned by TIAA. Then transferred to TIAA the corporate parent for another year, all focused on corporate development across the various business lines.
Once Gonzalez received a pitch of a lifetime to join Cboe as its senior director of corporate strategy and M&A, the rest was history. “It was an appealing pitch to me to join them because they were just finishing up the integration and looking to be proactive strategically,” Gonzalez says. “And it just sounded like such a breath of fresh air to make a transition to a place that was growing, investing, and thinking strategically about its global footprint.”
Since Gonzalez entered Cboe in 2019, he has paved the way for the world’s largest options exchange to make deals that ensure its longevity. By solidifying himself as a sound leader and homing in on his strategic expertise, he navigated Cboe through acquisitions that added more asset classes to its product line and expanded the company globally into new markets.
Instead of trying to share an idealistic outlook or offer false promises, the left-brained Gonzalez leads with a near-surgical logic. He nails down the details, and his affinity for reality drives him to stay down to earth while managing his staff. Because he brings a refreshing level of integrity to an industry and function that may have a reputation that is otherwise, he grants more credibility to his team.
“I think that’s served me well throughout in a way, to lead by example,” Gonzalez says. “In that sense, we’re trying to do the right thing. We’re helping everyone make the right decision. We’re not here to ask for certain information because we’re trying to find a way to screw someone over there. Our history, our track record, and our demeanor all help reinforce that message.”
Gonzalez collaborates with Cboe teams across all the business lines and functional teams globally so often that they often consider him a member of each. Even if he moved to an in-house career just seven years ago, he shares his insights in a way that marks a grand departure from his days in investment banking.
“It’s been a great way to leverage that Cboe culture . . . my propensity to be a partner with different people to make it all work,” Gonzalez says. “We’ve really been a collaborator with our functional teams and a partner with our business teams.”
Meanwhile, Gonzalez has delivered across almost ten deals during his tenure that have expanded Cboe into new geographies, new asset classes, and complementary capabilities.
The result? Cboe promoted Gonzalez to his current role as vice president of corporate strategy and M&A.
While Gonzalez forged his own path, he offers his two cents on boosting Latino representation in finance. “If there was just maybe more exposure earlier on in people’s career paths, I feel like there we can get more Latinos interested in pursuing careers in finance,” Gonzalez says. “That’s slowly changing. But it’s just knowing it’s an option. I think that would help a lot.”