CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) announced on Wednesday that its Chairman and CEO, William J. Brodsky, will step down as CEO after the company’s May 2013 Annual Meeting. He is expected to then take over the role as Executive Chairman of the Board.

William J. Brodsky

CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) made the announcement in a press release and added that its Board of Directors had unanimously elected Edward T. Tilly, 49, CBOE President and COO, as the incoming CEO; this will be effective after the 2013 Annual Meeting. Edward Provost, CBOE Chief Business Development Officer, will succeed Tilly as the exchange’s president and COO.

Brodsky, 68, has been at the helm of the exchange since 1997.

He said of the news, “It has been my pleasure to serve as Chairman and CEO of CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) these past 16 years. I am delighted that the Board has unanimously elected Ed Tilly to be CBOE’s next CEO. Ed and I have worked closely together for many years. His leadership and counsel have helped drive major initiatives at CBOE, including the transformation of CBOE from a membership organization to a highly successful publicly traded company.”

The news had been anticipated for quite some time by industry analysts and traders. In Brodsky’s tenure as the exchange’s leader, the industry and exchange watched options volume reach new heights, new exchange competitors enter the fray, the move to electronic trading and the introduction of innovative products in the marketplace based on the widely watch measure for volatility, the VIX.

Brodsky also oversaw CBOE’s change from a decades-long, member-owned exchange, to a publicly-traded company in 2010.

In a conference call on Wednesday with analysts, Brodsky said via the Wall Street Journal, “We’re making way for the next generation, but I’m not leaving the building.”

Brodsky’s contract goes through the end of next year, reported the Chicago Tribune, and some may have expressed surprise at the timing of Wednesday’s news. Back in October, when Brodsky had been asked by Reuters about his future, he said he wasn’t ready to leave Wall Street just yet.

And for those who know him well, this is the answer you’d expect from him, with his energy, passion, and experiences from 45 years.

From the change in leadership, one long-time industry professional and Brodsky supporter said he doesn’t see any disruption, as the leader will still be around, exerting some power.

Thomas Caldwell, chairman of Toronto-based Caldwell Securities, said via the Chicago Tribune, “He’s not actually out the door and down the street. He’ll still be there and will be a guiding influence. CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) is still the most profitable of the options exchanges. Every other options exchange is a wannabe.”

As for the new CEO, Tilly, he’s been the heir apparent for some time and a smooth transition is expected.

He said on Wednesday, “I am honored to assume the role of Chief Executive Officer. I want to thank Bill Brodsky for his outstanding leadership as CEO. It’s been my privilege to work alongside Bill, and I know I speak on behalf of the entire CBOE Holdings, Inc (NASDAQ:CBOE) community when I say we are pleased that he will assume the role of Executive Chairman.”