Things move pretty fast on exchanges today. But despite the increase in speed, there has been one constant at Nasdaq for over a decade: Bob Greifeld.
He joined the firm in 2003, becoming the New York-based exchange operator's CEO after stints at Automated Securities Clearance (ASC) and SunGard, where he spent nine and four years, respectively.
And while Greifeld has just moved on to a new role at the firm—taking on the duties of chairman of the board starting January 1 following former COO Adena Friedman’s appointment as the firm’s new CEO—that doesn’t diminish what he’s accomplished during his time as Nasdaq’s leader.
Greifeld took the reins at the firm in 2003 at a time when the exchange was losing market share on a daily basis to rival trading venues that were leaner and quicker.
“I would go home at night saying, ‘I think I’m six months too late,’ for the first year,” Greifeld told Waters in April 2016. “I’d like to have had a magic wand. We had obsolete mainframe technology, which was reliable and well-engineered, but was not able to respond to the dynamic aspects of the new competitive forces.”
Still, Greifeld kept his cool and was able to turn the company around, thanks to a series of judicious technology acquisitions and internal developments. Despite his long tenure at Nasdaq, he never stagnated.
Greifeld kept his cool and was able to turn the company around, thanks to a series of judicious technology acquisitions and internal developments. Despite his long tenure at Nasdaq, he never stagnated. While it would have been easy for some to simply sit back and enjoy the status quo, Greifeld continued to drive the firm to evaluate disruptive technologies.
While it would have been easy for some to simply sit back and enjoy the status quo, Greifeld continued to drive the firm to evaluate disruptive technologies. Distributed-ledger technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) have been two of the most prominent he’s had his eye on.
With the former, Nasdaq Private Market executed a transaction via blockchain at the end of 2015. In regards to the latter, Greifeld went so far as to include a clip from The Matrix regarding AI in Nasdaq’s Investor Day presentation in March 2016 to demonstrate the firm’s plans for using the technology.
“My theory on computing technology is this: When I started, the mainframe was in the glass room. Then it went to the telco room on the floor. Then it went to your desktop and then to your laptop. Then it went to your phone, and now it’s on your watch,” Greifeld says. “It’s coming to your body; compute power is coming in. So it’s been a long-term trend and it keeps getting closer.”
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