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
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
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
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’
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
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
Marketing manager, France, Avon Cosmetics Europe
Account manager, US, Ogilvy and Mather Direct
Marketing manager, Dialcom Inc
Director of marketing communications, Nasdaq
Vice-president international marketing, Nasdaq