Friedman could become Nasdaq CEO next year: Sources

Friedman could become Nasdaq CEO next year: Sources
Above: Adena Friedman

NEW YORK - Nasdaq OMX Group Inc lured back former Chief Financial Officer Adena Friedman as co-president with the understanding that she will succeed Chief Executive Bob Greifeld, possibly as soon as next year, sources familiar with the matter said.

There is no written agreement that lays out such a timeline. And Greifeld, 56, who has been the financial market company's CEO for 11 years, could still stay until 2017, when his contract ends, the sources said.

But one of the sources said that Friedman, 44, left her job as CFO of private equity firm Carlyle Group LP with the clear impression that she could become CEO within the next 12 to 18 months if she did not perform poorly.

While her return, announced last month, was widely seen as positioning her to succeed Greifeld, the understanding on the expected timeline has not been reported previously.

Nasdaq declined to comment or make Friedman available for an interview.

Both Greifeld and the Nasdaq board were involved in hiring back Friedman, the sources said.

Friedman, who had left for Carlyle three years ago after an 18-year career at Nasdaq, begins her new job on Monday. She will oversee the transatlantic exchange group's global corporate, information services, and technology solutions business lines, accounting for around 60 per cent of Nasdaq's total revenue, which last year was US$3.2 billion.

Succession has been top of mind at Nasdaq over the past few years but a number of possible internal candidates have not been prepared to wait for Greifeld to step down, complicating such planning at the company.

In September, sources told Reuters that the company had put together a list of external and internal candidates to succeed Greifeld. External candidates on Nasdaq's list included London Stock Exchange Group Plc CEO Xavier Rolet, Singapore Exchange Ltd CEO Magnus Bocker, TMX Group Ltd CEO Tom Kloet, and former CME Group Inc CEO Craig Donohue.

CEO BOOT CAMP

In November, Eric Noll, who headed trading operations at the exchange and was seen as the top internal candidate for the job, left to become CEO of brokerage ConvergEx Group[BNYCG.UL].

One source said so serious was Nasdaq about Noll as a candidate that it had even put him through CEO boot camp training.

Noll had replaced yet another CEO-hopeful in 2009. Chris Concannon, who until then had been Greifeld's No. 2, left for trading firm Virtu Financial, where he is president and chief operating officer.

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