Cover Story: Profile of Nasdaq CEO Bob Greifeld

Bob Greifeld fits the traditional profile of a capital markets CEO. He’s well spoken, intelligent and quick-witted. He’s got strong opinions on the market, as one would expect of a person with his experience, and has a habit of tapping his fingers on the table as he talks, as if he needs to physically drill home his point while speaking. There is, however, one topic that causes Greifeld to break into a smile: his collection of turtles. He keeps them in the background of his home in Western New Jersey for the majority of the year.

The tortoises—he has three—come inside during the winter, but the turtles hibernate outside. He brings the babies inside as well, even though he doesn’t have to. He admits that some family members find his hobby unusual, with the exception of his daughter, who is totally on board. Greifeld says there is no rational reason why he has the turtles. He’s liked them since he was a kid. It’s ironic for a man whose business deals in microseconds to have a passion for an animal notorious for its slowness, but that’s the beauty of Greifeld. As trading on exchanges—and the technology that underpins it—continues to get faster,

Greifeld has never forgotten the attitude that got him to where he is today, which he borrowed from his four-legged friends with shells. “Turtles are dinosaurs. They are survivors. They get there in a workman-like fashion. I certainly believe in life that it never comes easy. You just have to keep plugging away,”

Greifeld says. “I remember reading a Bill Gates book in the early days, and he said he’s failed at everything he tried the first time. I believe in the turtle pace. Slow and steady will get you a long way.”

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.