Bob Greifeld: Navigating Nasdaq’s Future

The year is 2003. You’re taking the helm at the world’s first electronic stock market, which, until relatively recently, was owned and operated by a regulatory organization but is now its own publicly traded entity.

Bob-GriefeldThe resulting massive cultural change in the company is taking place against a backdrop of industry disruption, as technological advances and globalization transform the way capital markets function. Meanwhile, startups, unburdened with legacy technology, are edging into your turf.

“Early on, we went through the ‘Are we going to make it?’ phase,” recalls Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq OMX Group. “During my first six months, we were burning money every day and didn’t have much of a balance sheet. We had to figure out where we were going.” The road he chose involved aggressive global expansion and growth, as well as a move toward becoming a provider of technology and corporate solutions. Nasdaq’s 2007 merger with Scandinavian exchange group OMX AB was a huge step, coupling Nasdaq’s electronic trading platform with the Stockholm-based stock market’s global technology services business and customer base.

From technological glitches to failed merger attempts, Greifeld has faced plenty of potholes and detours along the road to growth, most notably a trading delay during Facebook’s 2010 initial public offering (IPO) and a brief but momentous mid-day market shutdown in 2013. Those snafus were said to have cost Nasdaq high-profile listings. Despite its reputation as the market of choice for technology company IPOs, Twitter and Alibaba subsequently opted to list on the NYSE. A further reputational blow came in 2011, when efforts to take over rival New York Stock Exchange in 2011 were thwarted by regulators. The nation’s hallmark exchange has since been gobbled up by industry upstart Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

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