CES 2023: Nasdaq Chief Friedman Advocates for Tech-Driven 21st Century Economy

How technological advancements in today’s markets will affect the economy of the 21st century.

CTA CEO and president Gary Shapiro sat down with Nasdaq president and CEO, Adena T. Friedman in the “Great Minds: The Future of the 21st Century Economy” segment. Friedman explained how technological advancements in today’s markets will affect the economy of the 21st century. Here is an edited summary of their discussion.

CES 2023: The Financial Industry of the 21st Century
CTA CEO and president Gary Shapiro (left) and Nasdaq president and CEO, Adena T. Friedman

SHAPIRO: You interact a lot with CEOs and clients around the world. What areas, opportunities or challenges do you think leaders are most concerned about?
FRIEMAN: When I talk to CEOs, there are three main areas of focus. The first is the geopolitical landscape and how this will change supply chain management — proximity, economic stability and what kind of technology needs to be modernized in order to manage their supply chain. I think that COVID has exposed some problems there. The second is in digital transformation. As you know, every company is trying to find how to be effective, more technological, to grow better with technology, than just having people as the engine of growth. And then the third is about people and skills, the need for technical skills, and the fact that, in many cases, we don’t have enough workers for the needs of the industry at the moment.

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SHAPIRO: Do you think there’s going to be a lot of closeness and dual sources?
FRIEMAN: I do, yes. I think every company that is a large manufacturer that has global sales is rethinking their supply chain. Changing your supply chain is a time-consuming and costly task. You can do well for a long time—that’s like 20-year options, not five years. You feel that many decisions have been made and action is beginning. But it will probably be five to seven years before you see any real change there.

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SHAPIRO: You mentioned part-time, which affects everyone. Do you notice that it has changed recently, or is it softening a bit?
FREDMAN: There is something the industry is calling a “birth shortage” coming up. Because of the credit crisis, people had fewer children. If you think about the number of people who will graduate from high school in 2026 to 2028, it’s like a 7 to 20 percent reduction in high school graduates in that period. This is especially true for companies that rely heavily on people. Therefore, digital transformation is very important; using new technologies, using AI, using modern technology to avoid the need to hire more people at a time when, especially in the US, we don’t have many workers coming to work. This is what drives many companies’ decisions to continue investing in technology, even when the economy is not doing well right now.

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