Transatlantic exchange operator Nasdaq OMX Group Inc has lost its chief financial officer Adena Friedman, who is quitting to take the same position at Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm Carlyle Group .
The departure, announced on Monday, comes as Nasdaq might need her dealmaking skills as exchange rivals pair up in a merger frenzy.
Deutsche Boerse is in talks to buy NYSE Euronext and their respective boards are expected to vote on the deal on Tuesday. London Stock Exchange last week launched a bid for Canada's TMX .
Friedman, well regarded as a dealmaker, is joining Carlyle at a time when the private equity firm has been making a series of acquisitions and is looking to follow rivals such as Blackstone Group in going public.
Carlyle, which has been considering an initial public offering for years, may file papers this year to go public, a source familiar with the matter has previously said.
The private equity firm has been bulking up its business, with a recent deal to buy Dutch-based private equity fund of funds AlpInvest Partners, Europe's largest. That followed a deal in December to buy a majority stake in hedge fund Claren Road Asset Management.
Carlyle said it would benefit from Friedman's strategic planning and cross-border M&A experience as it continues to expand globally.
Friedman, who will be based in Washington, D.C. and start on March 28, replaces Peter Nachtwey, who left in December to go to asset manager Legg Mason .
The appointment makes her one of the most senior women in the male-dominated field of private equity. She will become Carlyle's eighth female partner out of 94, and the first woman on its operating committee.
NASDAQ SEARCH IS ON
Friedman oversaw Nasdaq's acquisition of OMX, a group of Scandinavian exchanges, as well as managed the purchase of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, now a major options market, in 2007.
She joined Nasdaq in 1993 and served in several senior roles, including executive vice president of corporate strategy.
She became CFO in 2009, replacing David Warren, who has been temporarily brought back to Nasdaq as a special advisor to chief executive Robert Greifeld.
Warren's departure was one of several in 2009 that raised questions about Nasdaq's ability to retain talent as two top executives left for high speed trading firms.
Macquarie Securities analyst Ed Ditmire wrote in a research note that her departure reminded him of an executive exodus in 2009, and noted that Friedman was seen by some as a potential successor to Greifeld.
Within a period of only a few months that year, Nasdaq lost Warren as well as the head of its U.S. options, the head of transaction services and its senior vice president of technology.
Nasdaq said that Ronald Hassen, senior vice president, controller and principal accounting officer, will become interim CFO, while a permanent replacement is sought.
(Reporting by Megan Davies and Phil Wahba; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tim Dobbyn)