Profile: Maggie Kelly, Nasdaq - Taking stock of Nasdaq PR/Maggie Kelly prepares to grab Nasdaq’s bull market by the PR horns

Maggie Kelly has returned home. She is British but has spent the last 12 years living in the US, most recently working as director of marketing communications at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange’s Washington DC headquarters.

Maggie Kelly has returned home. She is British but has spent the

last 12 years living in the US, most recently working as director of

marketing communications at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange’s Washington DC

headquarters.



Kelly now faces the task of building awareness of the world’s largest

electronic stock market in markets outside its US stronghold. In the US

she reported to Don Bosic, vice-president of interactive services, but

in London she heads her own team of six which is soon to grow.



In order to face this new challenge Kelly has had to reorganise her

life.



She and her husband had just bought a new house in Washington and her

three children, now of school age, were relatively settled. With a

career that has spanned France, the UK and the US, Kelly has become used

to upheaval.



She has followed her husband, who is American and in commercial real

estate, to two new jobs: the first entailed a move from London to

Houston, the second from Houston to Washington DC. Now he is following

her to London.



Kelly first spent time in France as a student when she studied for two

years in Rheims. Later she worked as a marketing manager for Avon

Cosmetics in France.



She moved to the US in 1986 and it was at electronic communications

company Dialcom, then owned by British Telecom, that she first learnt

the ins and outs of PR. The boss was a rather unconventional chap called

David Burd who hosted an infamous morning TV talk show before coming

into the office.



A touch of the unconventional will help Kelly when directing

international communications for Nasdaq. ’It’s not the traditional

leather sofa and mahogany type image you associate with financial

communications,’ she says.



Nasdaq is a sizeable concern. Although the New York Stock Exchange

remains the world’s largest in terms of the value of shares traded,

Nasdaq traded greater volumes of stock last year than New York, reaching

an average of 700 million shares a day. It is the fastest growing index

in the world.



Around 5,500 companies are listed on Nasdaq, with a total capitalisation

of pounds 1,146 billion. Stocks are traded via computers and telephones

rather than a trading floor - dealers at securities firms around the

world compete for mainly institutional investors’ orders, the best

quotations being relayed via computer direct to investors’

terminals.



Nasdaq is known for the major IT companies, such as Microsoft, Intel,

and Cisco, listed on its index. However, part of Kelly’s job is to

convey the diversity of companies listed. Telecoms giant Worldcom and

insurer Safeco are eminent examples of firms listed outside the IT

sector. All are typified by an ’entrepreneurial spirit’ says Kelly.



Nasdaq is also attempting to drive the number of overseas companies

which take listings. Non-US firms such as Toyota Motor Corporation,

Canon, Volvo and Virgin Express are already listed. The communications

task is two-fold: to communicate the benefits to potential listing

companies and to help US companies listed increase their profile in

Europe. Kelly also has to work at increasing Nasdaq’s profile among

potential investors.



For the first time in Europe it is targeting the retail market and Kelly

is planning a PR programme to target small investors, brokers and

independent financial advisers.



Aided by agencies Citigate Communications and Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Kelly

is very much focused on raising awareness of Nasdaq in the UK for 1998

and then looking further afield.



She seems cautious and astute but then there is a spirit of adventure

and dynamism lurking beneath this. Why else swap the 80-degree April

temperatures of Washington for the freezing environs of London’s

Finsbury Square?



HIGHLIGHTS

1983

Marketing manager, France, Avon Cosmetics Europe

1986

Account manager, US, Ogilvy and Mather Direct

1987

Marketing manager, Dialcom Inc

1990

Director of marketing communications, Nasdaq

1998

Vice-president international marketing, Nasdaq



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