Jesse Powell, an early Bitcoin-backer and one of the co-founders of the Kraken crypto exchange has stepped down from his position of Chief Executive Officer.
Controversial CEO Steps Down
On Wednesday, the U.S.-based crypto platform Kraken released a statement revealing that its long-time CEO, Jesse Powell, is stepping down from the position, with COO Dave Ripley taking over the mantle. According to the announcement, Powell will move on to the role of Chairman of the board of directors.
Speaking on the changing of the roles, now ex-CEO Jesse Powell said,
“Dave’s proven leadership and experience give me great confidence that he’s the ideal successor and the best person to lead Kraken through its next era of growth. I look forward to spending more of my time on the company’s products, user experience and broader industry advocacy.”
COO Promoted To CEO
As per the statement, Ripley has been a part of the Kraken team for a while and has worked alongside Powell in building the team and scaling its operations. Under his leadership, the company expanded its roster of 50 employees to over 3,000, along with accomplishing more than 16 acquisitions, acquiring multiple regulatory licenses, and onboarding significant partnerships. A hunt is on for a suitable replacement for the Chief Operations Officer role that Ripley will be vacating.
Commenting on his new role in the company, Ripley said,
“Jesse and I are in lockstep on culture and values though it does go without saying that I’m not the same level of cultural figure in terms of social media.”
Kraken Has Courted Controversy In The Past
The company was subjected to controversy recently because of a culture document in which Kraken leadership rejected mandates of diversity hires. Although a school of thought believes that Powell is stepping down due to the backlash brought about by the said policies, it is interesting to note that his replacement Ripley was one of the authors of the controversial document.
Back in June 2021, Powell had also spoken about the company going public in the next year, a claim which is yet to come true or be verified by any other individual associated with the company. The company also faced regulatory troubles when it was suspected of violating international sanctions. In July 2022, Kraken was being investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly violating sanctions imposed upon Iran in 1979 and allowing Iranians to transact digital assets on its platform.