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Thursday, September 18, 2003

WSJ Editorial on Grasso

The WSJ says that the stock exchange needs to become a publicly traded company to achieve the transparency investors are now demanding. With this goal in mind, they think sacking Grasso now was a mistake:

"More to the point, becoming a publicly listed company would force the exchange itself to practice the disclosure and transparency that investors increasingly demand from their companies. Even if the seat holders aren't keen to trade in their rights for allocations of shares for their own enrichment, the last week has made clear that the exchange's public customers are demanding openness and accountability of the sort that can best be achieved by becoming a public company.

"How to get from here to there? Mr. Grasso is gone, though frankly we'd rather have kept him as CEO and brought in a new board, one that would have set a strict timetable for taking the exchange public. Now things have to be done the hard way. First get a new CEO, then a clean sweep of the board. Mr. McCall and company have already forfeited the confidence of the investing public as caretakers of the exchange's public image. They'd hardly do much better as caretakers of the nest eggs of investors who might be tempted to buy shares in a publicly traded NYSE Corp."