Market players are scratching their heads over who will take over at the NZX after Mark Weldon steps down.
There is no obvious successor within the listed stock exchange operator, and chairman Andrew Harmos told APNZ an international consultancy would be used to find a new chief.
There was some speculation yesterday that outgoing Justice and Commerce Minister Simon Power would step up.
One finance industry source said market chatter also suggested the various heads of New Zealand's biggest stockbroking firms - such as Goldman Sachs & Partners NZ chief executive Andrew Barclay - could be potential appointees.
It had seemed that the NZX's former head of markets and strategy, Fiona Mackenzie, was being groomed to replace Weldon until she said in June she was moving to the Superannuation Fund.
Market commentator Arthur Lim said the company would probably prefer that a New Zealander replace Weldon.
"But given the kind of global economic environment we're in these days, maybe they'll bring someone in from overseas that can provide linkages to the other markets," he said.
Lim said the timing of Weldon's exit allowed him to leave "on a high".
The partial flotations of several state-owned enterprises are expected to start in the second quarter of next year, assuming National wins next month's election.
"But if you look at [Weldon's] tenure over 10 years ... the stockbroking and equity market industry as a whole has gone backwards," said Lim. "That to me is a worrying legacy."
Shareholders' Association corporate liaison Des Hunt said he would give Weldon a "seven out of 10" for his performance as NZX chief.
Research showed firms that sourced chief executives internally through promotion performed better, he said, and it was disappointing that the NZX did not have an internal successor lined up.
Business commentator Brian Gaynor said Weldon's best contribution to the exchange took place during his first five to six years as chief executive, rather than the last years when there was high staff turnover. "A lot of very good people left the NZX," he said.