The WFE's Women Leaders 2022 - Ann Dennison, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Nasdaq

By: The WFE Focus Team Mar 2022

Member: Nasdaq 

Nominee’s name: Ann Dennison

Nominee’s job title: Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer 


1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job: 

As Nasdaq’s CFO, Ann leads a global team responsible for Corporate Finance (Controllers, Tax, Advisory Office), Treasury, Planning & Analysis, Investor Relations, ESG Reporting, Procurement and Real Estate, Facilities and Security.

2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies): 

Ann is a 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, with more than two decades of experience in financial reporting and analysis. Ann joined Nasdaq in 2015 as chief accounting officer and was responsible for all areas of the company’s accounting, financial reporting, analysis, and disclosure, as well as budgeting and planning, tax, procurement and global accounting operations.

Prior to joining Nasdaq, Ann served as managing director and as head of Financial Reporting at Goldman Sachs. Ann holds a BBA and MBA, Accounting and Finance from Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. Ann is an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, and also enjoys hiking and yoga.

3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021 (ie why should you be on this list)

I officially began my CFO role in March 2021 at a time when Nasdaq needed to continue to prove its resiliency and innovative thinking given the dynamic capital markets environment spurred on by the pandemic.

2021 was also a time of tremendous growth and success for Nasdaq. As a team, we achieved some remarkable milestones: we celebrated Nasdaq’s 50th anniversary; we were officially added to the FORTUNE 500 list; and we saw a nearly 62% increase in our market capitalization.

One particularly area I’m proud of is the evolution of Nasdaq’s ESG Reporting. We restructured the teams responsible for producing our annual sustainability reporting to create more alignment and to ensure consistency, transparency and authenticity. I’m very proud of the annual Sustainability Report that was published as well as our very first report utilizing the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). By using the TCFD framework we were able to better communicate our environmental commitments to our stakeholders. And for the sixth consecutive year, Nasdaq was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which is one of the most prestigious ESG ranking efforts

I look forward to continuing to work closely with our CEO, Adena Friedman, our Board of Directors, and our highly-engaged employees to further fuel our success as a leading technology company serving the capital markets, as well as meeting the needs of our diverse set of stakeholders.

4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success: 

I have been inspired by many amazing professionals over my career and took learnings from each of them. As early as my first year out of college, I was cognizant of the various attributes that made people successful in the environment we were in, and I tried to emulate them as my career advanced.

I also took inspiration from the former controller at Goldman Sachs, who over many years successfully elevated the finance organization within GS to be a valued business partner, through the recognition that the right talent in the right places was powerful and that focusing on the larger picture was important for driving success.

And during my time at Nasdaq, I have been inspired by our leadership, particularly Adena Friedman and my predecessor Michael Ptasznik, who retired as CFO of Nasdaq in February 2021. Their boldness inspires me to be a better leader. And I’d be remiss not to mention my parents. While they were not in the corporate world, they inspired me to work hard and to earn my place, while acting compassionately along the way.

5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions: 

I would encourage others to develop strong relationships with your managers, peers and people on your teams. You can truly learn from everyone, regardless of their title.

In addition, seek out sponsors and mentors. Every next opportunity that I received during my career was because of a sponsor; most were my former managers who were willing to take a chance on me.

And lastly, speak up for what you want, be it a new assignment or project or the opportunity for advancement. It can be a lot harder for people to overlook you when you have been open about your ambitions. This transparency also gives your managers the opportunity to tell you what you need to do or work on in order to make the next steps happen.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.