Adena Friedman

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Adena Friedman
Adena Friedman.jpg
Friedman at the US Department of the Treasury Women in Finance Symposium, July 12, 2011.
Adena Robinson Testa

1969 (age 52–53)
EducationB.A. Williams College
M.B.A. Vanderbilt University
OccupationCEO of NASDAQ
Michael Friedman
(m. 1993)
Parent(s)Adena W. Testa
Michael D. Testa

Adena T. Friedman (born Adena Robinson Testa; 1969) is an American businesswoman. She currently serves as the President and CEO of Nasdaq, Inc.[1] She was formerly a managing director and CFO of The Carlyle Group. Initially joining Nasdaq in 1993, she returned to Nasdaq from Carlyle in May 2014 as President of Global Corporate and information technology solutions.[2][3] She was named the CEO of Nasdaq in January 2017, the first woman to lead a global exchange.[4]

Forbes has repeatedly listed Friedman as one of the world's most powerful women on their annual Power Women list.[4]

Early years[edit]

Born Adena Robinson Testa and raised in metropolitan Baltimore, she is the daughter of Michael D. Testa, a managing director at T. Rowe Price, and Adena W. Testa, an attorney in the Baltimore law firm of Stewart, Plant & Blumenthal.[5]


She attended Roland Park Country School. She earned a BA in political science from Williams College and an MBA from Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management.[5]


After graduating from Vanderbilt University, Friedman joined Nasdaq in 1993. At Nasdaq, she served as the head of data products and as Chief Financial Officer, amongst others.[2]

She left Nasdaq in 2011 to join private investment firm Carlyle Group as Chief Financial Officer and Managing Director, a position she held until 2014.[6]

Friedman returned to Nasdaq as president and Chief Operating Officer. She became CEO in January 2017, replacing Robert Greifeld.[2]

According to Forbes Power Women list, Friedman sees Nasdaq as an "engine for capitalism," and has advocated “bringing companies back to the public market and making investing accessible.” As CEO, she is “focused on diversifying Nasdaq into a technology company with a focus on growth opportunities, such as data research services.[4]

In April 2019, Friedman gave a TED talk titled “What’s the future of capitalism?.”[7] She also participated in The Economist magazine The World in 2020 issue with a column titled "Ideas for modernizing capitalism,” predicting that “the fight for the soul of the global economy will heat up.”[8]

During the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, Friedman was featured on The New York Times Corner Office "Logged On From the Laundry Room: How the C.E.O.s of Google, Pfizer and Slack Work From Home" article, sharing perspectives of company CEOs working from home due to the pandemic. She shared her decision to split key personnel at the exchange to two teams to ensure work continuity and described her work from home routine during the crisis. The story included Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, among others.[9]


Friedman has served as a Class B director to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York since December 2018, the only Exchange CEO to ever have done this.[10][4] She also serves on the board of FCLTGlobal, a non-profit organization that researches tools that encourage long-term investing.[11]

Personal life[edit]

In 1993, she married Michael Cameron Friedman in a Presbyterian ceremony in Hanover, New Hampshire.[5] They have two sons.[12] She has a black belt in taekwondo, which she started studying after taking her sons to classes, and she has said has helped her become more fearless in business.[13][14]


  1. ^ "Adena Friedman".
  2. ^ a b c Merced, Michael J. de la (2016-11-14). "Nasdaq Names a New Chief Executive: Adena Friedman". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  3. ^ "Adena Friedman returns to Nasdaq". Reuters. May 12, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Adena Friedman". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  5. ^ a b c New York Times: "Weddings; Adena R. Testa, Michael Friedman" August 22, 1993
  6. ^ Johnson, Kieron (2019-05-13). "The taekwondo black belt who runs the Nasdaq". BBC News. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  7. ^ Friedman, Adena, What's the future of capitalism?, retrieved 2020-03-11
  8. ^ "Ideas for modernising capitalism". 21 November 2019. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  9. ^ Gelles, David (2020-03-23). "Logged On From the Laundry Room: How the C.E.O.s of Google, Pfizer and Slack Work From Home". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-01.
  10. ^ "Adena Friedman Elected as a Class B Director to New York Fed Board of Directors - FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of NEW YORK". Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  11. ^ "FCLTGlobal Appoints New Board Directors and Strategic Advisors". Archived from the original on 2020-03-21. Retrieved 2020-03-11.
  12. ^ Alford Lake Camp: "Adena Testa Friedman" Archived 2016-11-15 at the Wayback Machine retrieved November 14, 2016
  13. ^ Osipovich, Alexander (February 3, 2017), "Nasdaq's New CEO Adena Friedman Has a Big Job: Reimagining the Stock Exchange", The Wall Street Journal, New York City, retrieved January 4, 2017
  14. ^ "The taekwondo black belt who runs the Nasdaq". BBC News. 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2021-04-09.