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Charlie Breaks It

After IPO Disaster, Nasdaq CEO Left Picking Up Pieces of Personal Life

Nasdaq chief Robert Greifeld is pretty confident that he will keep his job following the botched Facebook IPO, but he concedes that episode has come at a tremendous personal and professional cost.

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“I can’t wait for my life to get back to normal,” Greifeld conceded to a friend during a member golf tournament this weekend at the posh Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ., the FOX Business Network has learned.

The Facebook (NYSE:FB) initial public offering was plagued by technical problems as Nasdaq’s trading platform proved incapable of handling customer orders. These problems ended up costing investors between $100 million and $200 million, largely the result of faulty pricing and other mishaps directly related to Nasdaq's market system.

As first reported by FOX Business, Nasdaq is expected to outline a compensation plan later today, providing between $13 million and $30 million in relief. But that is unlikely to appease investors who both want more money and would like Greifeld to step down amid the mess.

Many blame Greifeld personally for the problems since he had weeks to prepare for the high profile public offering; when the problems with the Nasdaq system began during the May 18 offering, he was seen celebrating the deal at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto Calif.., with company founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Greifeld is certainly feeling the heat. He described the controversy as a “storm” that has hurt him both professionally and personally, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

“I can’t wait for this storm to pass,” Greifeld quipped, the person said.

Greifeld added, however, that he expected to survive as chief executive of the Nasdaq despite calls for his resignation, this person said.

A Nasdaq spokesman didn’t return an email for comment.

Since the problems with the first emerged, Greifeld has kept a low profile; he gave a briefing with select members of the press two days after the IPO where he apologized for Nasdaq's mishandling of the deal, but has since then has remained out of public view.

That may now be changing. Greifeld is also scheduled to speak at a conference sponsored by brokerage firm Sandler O’Neill on Thursday, though he is not expected to take questions from reporters.

Meanwhile, Nasdaq will likely make a public filing today outlining how it will compensate investors who lost money on the Facebook IPO. FOX Business has learned that part of the compensation may be in the form of offering jilted investors transaction discounts on trades they make through the Nasdaq system.

That sort of discounting will likely be opposed by rival exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, because it could allow Nasdaq to gain market share even as it attempts to make amends for its own mistakes.

A person close to the NYSE says leadership of the Big Board will likely petition regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission to prevent any compensation that would drive order flow to the Nasdaq.

“Why should those guys screw up and then gain market share?” said one exchange official.

A spokesman for the NYSE declined to comment.

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