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Adi Agrawal is Optionus Prime

Adi Agrawal is Optionus Prime, the chief transformer of the Options Clearing Corporation. More formally he is not a child’s toy or the star techno-actor of a hit movie series, but rather the Chief Transformation Officer of the OCC. He is the chief transformer in my book.

As Optionus Prime, Agrawal has a new role at an organization that is trying to reinvent itself based on the challenges of Dodd-Frank.

I had never heard of such a title before, so I sat down with Adi and asked him what it was all about. He was in human form for the interview.

The genesis of the role came from the OCC wanting to improve project management and integrate compliance and legal into operations. The challenge was to overcome the propensity for functions to be siloed rather than across the services.

The goal was to build defined outcomes, where all aspects are pulled together in a planned and effective manner. Some of this is technology intensive, and other aspects are all about people.

The OCC is in the midst of re-engineering their technology stack. They are trying to build a new system to replace Encore, which has all key organization functions in one system.

In order to get there, though, the OCC needed to radically enhance their delivery and project management capabilities.

The transformation office has 35 to 40 people in it, though six of the spots are unfilled. The team is split between Chicago and Dallas, where the OCC has had an office since geographical diversity became an issue after 9/11.

There are other reasons to be in Texas too. There are quality universities in Dallas, Houston and Austin and a lot of technology talent.

OCC has also been able to collaborate with the DTCC down there, originally sharing offices, but now OCC has their own new modern space.

Adi won’t be Optionus Prime forever. His career is filled with roles as a Systems engineer, change agent, programmer, analyst, When he successfully completes his mission, Agrawal will have to transform again into something new. It turns out that if you are a good Optionus Prime, you might just put yourself out of a role.

For now though, Agrawal is doing battle trying to change the culture at OCC and how they handle problems, how they measure progress and success and how they transform the organization into a model of good governance with all the necessary modern data capabilities.

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Lothian is executive chairman of John J. Lothian & Co. and editor of the John Lothian Newsletter. He publishes,,, and several industry newsletters.