If you've ever wondered what it was like to run a major exchange during some of the market's wildest years, you can hear firsthand from former Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld in his new book, "Market Mover: Lessons from a Decade of Change at Nasdaq."
Mr. Greifeld, who led the exchange from 2003 to 2016 and served as chairman of the board of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC until May 2017, offers a front-row seat as Nasdaq nearly quadrupled in size from a single exchange to one with an $11 billion market capitalization and record profits. But that time wasn't without major distractions that included market crashes, Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme and a few high-flying initial public offerings. Each chapter looks at a headline-making event and ends with a takeaway for readers.
He credits his ability to navigate the turbulence in part to his background as a Wall Street outsider. The former tech entrepreneur came to Nasdaq after the 2001 tech bubble burst when the exchange was starting to consider its options, including going private. "I was not a traditional hire by any stretch of the imagination," he said, but he approached it as a technology transfer challenge.
He soon learned how much he didn't know about the other demands, including government relations, marketing and public affairs. A slowdown in IPOs gave some breathing room, and the freezing of credit markets added some tailwind — "but we knew the hangover was coming."
After his tenure ended, Mr. Greifeld went back to his roots. He co-founded financial technology investment firm Cornerstone Investment Capital LLC and became chairman of Virtu Financial Inc., a financial services and products provider that uses technology to give liquidity to markets.
"At the end of the day, I am a software guy; I didn't want to be a board guy," he said.