Release Number 8843-23

CFTC Chairman Announces Division of Data Appointments to Continue the CFTC’s Focus on Mission Critical Data

Ted Kaouk Named the Chief Data Officer and Director of the Division of Data and John Coughlan Named Chief Data Scientist

December 21, 2023

— Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Rostin Behnam today announced two appointments in the Division of Data (DOD) that will enhance the CFTC’s analytic capabilities as the agency increasingly innovates its data-driven culture. Ted Kaouk has been named Chief Data Officer and Director of DOD. Dr. Kaouk will spearhead data integration initiatives and collaborate with the CFTC’s offices and divisions to help the agency make informed policy decisions. John Coughlan will serve as the agency’s first Chief Data Scientist. He will advance DOD’s data science expertise and expand the agency’s use of artificial intelligence to more effectively oversee the derivatives markets and meet its own regulatory requirements.

“The massive shifts in financial markets driven by advances in technology put the CFTC at the center of a new era of financial data, empowering us to more efficiently and effectively execute our mission,” said Chairman Rostin Behnam. “With these new critical hires, the CFTC is upskilling our data science staff, and increasing capacity and capability to be at the forefront of market innovations. We now have the team in place to set a strategy with concrete benchmarks and a clear path forward.”

Ted Kaouk, Chief Data Officer and Director of the Division of Data

Dr. Kaouk served as the chief data officer at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), where he was responsible for developing the agency’s first federal government-wide human capital data strategy and data products. Prior to joining OPM, Dr. Kaouk was the chief data officer at the Department of Agriculture, where he was responsible for establishing the agency’s first enterprise data analytics platform and a data strategy to improve organizational decision-making and outcomes for citizens. Dr. Kaouk has served as the first Chair of the Federal Chief Data Officers Council since 2020.

Dr. Kaouk began his career as a surface warfare officer in the United States Navy, where he served as a communications officer, overseeing a guided missile destroyer’s computer network, satellite communications suite, and cryptographic program. As a damage control officer in the Navy, he managed all crew readiness programs for conventional, bio-chemical, and environmental threats to normal shipboard operations and stability.

Dr. Kaouk earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy, a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park.

John Coughlan, Chief Data Scientist

Mr. Coughlan has served at the CFTC for eight years in data science and analytical roles using data to address the CFTC’s regulatory issues. Prior to joining DOD, Mr. Coughlan was a market analyst in the Market Intelligence Branch of the Division of Market Oversight. In this role, he built the first machine learning model the CFTC put into production to detect anomalies in regulatory transactions data. He also led studies of emerging risks in derivatives markets with a special focus on high frequency trading and market liquidity issues. Mr. Coughlan began his CFTC career in the Market Participants Division as a data and risk analyst focused on swap dealer risk management. He also held a research economist role in the Office of the Chief Economist working on studies and rules involving diverse market segments.

Before joining the CFTC, Mr. Coughlan held analytical roles at Booz Allen Hamilton, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Mr. Coughlan received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University.