How Nasdaq’s CEO Led the Exchange’s Seamless Transition to Remote Working

By: Carleton English.

For Nasdaq, “work from home” took on a meaning this year entirely different from simply firing up a laptop with a strong Wi-Fi connection. The setup was much more elaborate for the electronic stock exchange, which powers 120 markets around the world. 

Under the leadership of Adena Friedman, the Covid-era transition has gone surprisingly smoothly. “Our ability to be able to go from everyone in the office to everyone at home in such a short period of time is truly a testament to years of effort by our risk teams, our technology teams, [and] our people teams,” she tells Barron’s.

Nasdaq’s swift move to a nearly fully remote workforce was decades in the making. Since 9/11, its risk-management team has been driving business-continuity planning, and testing many emergency scenarios. Still, powering today’s nonstop markets, which saw unprecedented volatility in March and circuit-breaker halts for the first time since 1997, is no small feat.

Friedman, 50, became Nasdaq’s CEO in 2017. The first woman to lead a global exchange, she has been with Nasdaq for more than 20 years, a stretch briefly interrupted by a stint as chief financial officer at The Carlyle Group, the private-equity shop she helped take public in 2012.

Source: Barron’s (2020)

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