Kelly Lynn Loeffler is an American politician serving as a United States senator from Georgia since 2020. A Republican, Loeffler was previously chief executive officer (CEO) of Bakkt, a subsidiary of commodity and financial service provider Intercontinental Exchange, of which her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is CEO. She co-owns the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Early life and education
Loeffler was born in Bloomington, Illinois, to Don and Lynda (née Munsell) Loeffler, and raised on her family's corn and soybean farm in Stanford, Illinois. In 1988, she graduated from Olympia High School in Stanford, where she was in marching band, ran cross-country and track, and played varsity basketball.
In 1992, Loeffler graduated with a Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign's Gies College of Business, where she was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. After college, she worked for Toyota as a District Account Manager. In 1999, Loeffler graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in international finance and marketing from DePaul University's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. She financed her graduate school tuition by mortgaging land inherited from her grandparents.
After earning her MBA, Loeffler worked for Citibank, William Blair & Company, and the Crossroads Group. In 2002, she joined Intercontinental Exchange, a commodity and financial service provider, in investor relations. She married the firm's CEO, Jeffrey Sprecher, in 2004. Loeffler was eventually promoted to senior vice president of investor relations and corporate communications. In 2018, she became the chief executive officer (CEO) of Bakkt, a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange.
According to Salon, in 2009, Loeffler helped Intercontinental Exchange to establish and market a credit default swap clearinghouse in the Cayman Islands as an offshore tax haven. It allowed the biggest banks to avoid paying taxes on repatriation of income. This allowed International Exchange to use Ugland House as a registration address in the tax haven without having a physical presence there.
In 2010, Loeffler bought a minority stake in the Atlanta Dream of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). In 2011, she and Mary Brock bought the team from Kathy Betty. Loeffler took an active role in the team, arranging her travel schedule to attend all games and often meeting with head coach Michael Cooper during halftime to analyze the first half of the game.
When Loeffler left Intercontinental Exchange to join the Senate, the company awarded her over $9 million of financial assets. A spokesperson for Loeffler said Loeffler "left millions in equity compensation behind" by joining the Senate.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, have donated $3.2 million to political committees. Ninety-seven percent of these donations went to Republicans, and three percent to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Debbie Stabenow, and Georgia Congressman David Scott (GA–13), who received $10,200. Loeffler donated $750,000 to Restore Our Future, a super PAC supporting former Governor Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. The National Republican Senatorial Committee received $247,500 from Loeffler and Sprecher. In May 2020, Loeffler's husband gave $1 million to a Trump 2020 reelection super PAC, his largest federal political donation to date.
In 2004, she married Jeffrey Sprecher, the founder and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange and Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. They live in Tuxedo Park, Atlanta, in a $10.5 million, 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) estate named Descante, bought in 2013 in what was then the most expensive residential real estate transaction ever recorded in Atlanta. In November 2020, Newsweek reported Loeffler's and Sprecher's combined net worth at $800 million, making her the wealthiest U.S. Senator. Days before the terms of the CARES Act was announced, Sprecher bought up to $1 million in stocks in companies that stood to gain from the bill.
Loeffler uses a Bombardier Challenger 300 private jet for her Senate work and political campaigning; such planes typically cost from $7 million to over $20 million.