Steve Fossett

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Steve Fossett

Steve Fossett was a legendary futures and options trader in Chicago, but was more widely known for his swimming, sailing, mountain climbing, dog sledding and aviation feats, holding more than 115 land, water and air records.[1] Fossett, born on Apr. 22, 1044, is thought to have died when his airplane crashed in the Nevada desert on Sept. 3, 2007.

Fossett was reported missing when the small plane he was piloting did not return, sparking a month-long search. He was declared legally dead on Feb. 15, 2008 and his identification was found by a hiker on Sept. 29, 2008. The crash site of the plane was found on Oct. 3, 2008.[2]

Fossett is known for setting numerous speed sailing and flight records including being the first person to fly around the world solo in a balloon in 2002.


Fossett started his professional career at IBM in New York City, but he left his job to moved to Chicago a few years later where he traded derivatives. He started his own options trading firm Lakota Trading in 1980 and then Marathon Securities.[3]

It was as a backer of traders that Fossett distinguished himself. In 1983 he formed Fossett Corp., which cleared independent traders and backed other traders. He recruited MBAs from the University of Chicago and Northwestern. He was particularly bullish on the future of options trading, and he gave opportunities to clerks and floor brokers from the CBOE. [4]

The firm's name was changed to Lakota in the late 1980s. Fossett got out of the clearing business in 1989 but continued to back traders and was always one of the largest owners of seats on the CBOE.

He was president of the National Eagle Scout Association.

Fossett also wrote an autobiography called "Chasing the Wind: the Autobiography of Steve Fossett."


Fossett graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in economics and picked up a master's degree in business from Washington University in St. Louis.[5]


  1. Former Top Trader Fossett an Adventurer But Not a Daredevil. Bloomberg.
  2. Steve Fossett Biography (1944 - 2007).
  3. Steve Fossett. Astrodatabank.
  4. Dan Keegan, Personal interview with Jim Kharouf. Interview conducted January 27, 2009.
  5. Steve Fossett Biography (1944 - 2007).