Adena Friedman makes the case for Nasdaq’s boardroom diversity push
– Up for debate. Virtual IPOs, meme stocks, crypto. Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman talked about them all in her new interview with Emma that published this week.
Nasdaq had expected the past year to be “pretty challenging” for IPOs, Friedman said, “but it turned out to be the busiest time on the capital markets in terms of capital raising since the mid-1990s.”
That investor interest helped spawn the meme stock craze in which companies like GameStop skyrocketed in value despite performances that were mediocre at best. Friedman said Nasdaq is “concerned” whenever “stocks move away from their fundamentals,” but that the Securities and Exchange Commission is working to ensure “it’s truly people being spontaneously interested together and taking a position on a stock” (versus illegally manipulating the market).
Friedman says at least nine cryptocurrency markets use Nasdaq’s surveillance technology that spots fraud or manipulation. Still, “crypto trading technology today is just not in a position to be able to support the level of trading activity that we experience in the equities and options markets,” she says. In the coming years, “there will be a greater understanding of how we can make the markets more efficient and effective using the blockchain.” For now, Nasdaq is focused on further developing that technology so it can “be a disrupter” itself.
Emma also quizzed Friedman on the Nasdaq’s new initiative that would require listed companies to disclose the diversity characteristics of their board members and to have at least one woman or underrepresented minority as a director. If a company doesn’t meet that minimum, it must explain why.
Friedman says Nasdaq took this step due to a “growing amount of evidence that diversity on boards is correlated with improved outcomes in two areas: risk controls—that’s important to us because investor protection is critical—and financial performance.”
Bloomberg reported yesterday that the SEC is likely to approve the proposal as soon as Aug. 8. The endorsement would mark one of the agency’s most substantial efforts yet to increase diversity among those who oversee public companies.
Still, the proposal has gotten some pushback during the public comment period, but Friedman says it was expected: “Whenever you try to create change, you’re going to have debate.”
You can read Emma’s full interview here.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this post misspelled GameStop.
The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Add to cart. Instacart is becoming a destination for ex-Facebookers. Former Facebook ad chief Carolyn Everson will join new Instacart CEO and ex-Facebook App head Fidji Simo at the grocery delivery app as president. Her hire signals the importance of advertising in Instacart's next chapter. Fortune
- Riding for inclusion. The Grammy Awards will include an inclusion rider in 2022. That means the Recording Academy will require the music awards show's producers to recruit and hire more diverse candidates for the ceremony. Fortune
- Work, work, work, work, work. Rihanna is officially a billionaire and the richest female musician, per Forbes. Her fortune is thanks to the growth of her Fenty Beauty empire; the pop star owns 50% of the company. Forbes
- Quarterly clean-up. Clorox's sales fell 10% last quarter, but CEO Linda Rendle says she isn't worried about her bet that higher demand for cleaning products is here to stay. "Predicting a pandemic is like predicting the wind," she says. Bloomberg
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The Associated Press promoted EVP and COO Daisy Veerasingham to president and CEO. HubSpot promoted chief customer officer Yamini Rangan to CEO. Staffing platform Wonolo hired Four Winds Interactive's Margot Moellenberg as CFO. ONUG, an organization for IT executives, named Adobe's vulnerability labs VP Shannon Lietz board cochair and Citigroup managing director of architecture, technology, and engineering Yesim Akdeniz a board member. Beauty business Solvasa named Lea Brister May VP of sales. Publicis Groupe’s Team One has hired Prachi Priya as its first chief data officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Vaccination expectations. As vaccination campaigns stall, CVS Health is seeing the results in its business. In its recent earnings call, the pharmacy and health care company led by CEO Karen Lynch revised its estimates for how many vaccines it would administer in 2021. In February, the chain expected between 29 and 44 million doses; now it says it will close out the year with 32 to 36 million. CNBC
- Primary results. Shontel Brown won a special election in Ohio's 11th Congressional district this week, coming out on top in the Democratic primary over former state senator Nina Turner. Brown, a Cuyahoga County council member, was seen as aligned with the Biden administration, while Turner is a longtime Bernie Sanders ally and progressive voice. The race is to succeed former Rep. Martha Fudge, who resigned to serve as Biden's secretary of housing and urban development. CNN
- Say cheese. Plant-based cheese has been slower to catch on than plant-based milks and meat, but it's a fast-growing category. Miyoko Schinner, the founder behind the dairy-free cheese brand Miyoko’s Creamery, is bullish about the product's potential. Her company is even helping California farmers switch from animal agriculture to plant-based farming. Guardian
ON MY RADAR
America isn't taking care of caregivers Vox
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex launches work initiative for women on 40th birthday Guardian
For congresswoman Cori Bush, extending the eviction ban was personal Fortune
-Saturday Night Live star Cecily Strong. Her new book is This Will All Be Over Soon, a memoir about grief and the pandemic.
Subscribe to Fortune Daily to get essential business stories straight to your inbox each morning.