The Hong Kong Futures Exchange is to train a group of hand-picked Hong Kong Chinese candidates from which it will choose a chief executive in 2001, the year after newly appointed chief Robert Gilmore's contract is due to finish. The exchange yesterday said that Mr Gilmore would return from running a consultancy firm in his native United States to take the role from 1998 to 2000 after the retirement of Ivers Riley at the end of this year. He begins work as the chief executive-designate from this week until the end of the year. The appointment of Mr Gilmore, well known in Hong Kong after being an executive director of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) from 1989 to 1995 and its deputy chairman from 1993 to 1995, has prompted surprise that a local Chinese was not chosen this time around. Futures exchange chairman Frank Wong Kong-shing said the exchange would have liked a Hong Kong candidate but no-one was qualified for the job. 'We started the recruitment exercise in July last year,' he said. 'In the initial stage, our recruitment consultants came up with 13 names, from which five were short-listed, including three locals and two from overseas. 'However none of the local candidates fitted all the requirements of the exchange since they lacked international experience. 'We are pleased to choose Mr Gilmore who fulfils all the requirements of the exchange and has a solid track record in risk management, international experience and knows the Hong Kong market well.' Mr Wong said the exchange would start training Hong Kong people in an attempt to earmark a successor to Mr Gilmore. 'We will send a group of people to take some courses or to work in overseas exchanges for six months or one year to get international experience,' he said. He said this training programme would cost several million dollars and Mr Gilmore would be responsible for the programme. Mr Wong said it would not be too expensive to have two chief executives working together in the next nine months as Mr Gilmore would not be highly paid. Mr Gilmore said details of the training programme had not been worked out but he expected the three or four candidates to include those with talent in creating products and risk management. The candidates could be exchange staff or from outside, he said. Mr Gilmore said he believed he would have no problems communicating with Chinese authorities since he worked with them during his time at the SFC. He said his experience with the futures exchange would be completely different from that with the SFC. 'The priority for my job is to carry out the five-year plan and develop new products for the exchange,' he said.