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April 30, 2003

New Nasdaq CEO Tames the Critics

By Gregory Bresiger

A former critic of Nasdaq is its next chief executive officer.

Robert Greifeld, an executive of SunGard and its Brut ECN, is the new chief executive officer and president. "You couldn't find a guy who had been more critical of Nasdaq than Greifield," said one veteran trading executive when informed of the choice. However, several industry executives told Traders Magazine that they were pleased that Nasdaq tapped someone with a background in running a trading-oriented business. "He's a great choice. He'll get the job done," said another executive, Cromwell Coulson, chairman of the Pink Sheets.

Previous Nasdaq executives have been criticized for not knowing how to operate a business. Too often, critics said, they have been selected solely for their legal background or ability to work with regulators.

Embattled Nasdaq officials, grappling with continuing competition from ECNs at the same time as they needed a replacement for controversial lameduck chairman Hardwick Simmons, opted to split Simmons duties. They have also decided to tap H. Furlong Baldwin, a Nasdaq outside director, as the next chairman.

The loser in these internal Nasdaq battles appears to be Richard Ketchum, the perennial bridesmaid for the top job. He has served as Nasdaq president, but switches to vice chairman of the Nasdaq board.