Jesse Powell, the CEO of Kraken, is stepping down from the highest job on the cryptocurrency trade he based in 2011. The firm introduced the information on Wednesday, including that longtime Chief Operating Officer Dave Ripley will succeed Powell within the coming months.

The shake-up is critical as Powell has been an influential determine within the crypto scene since Bitcoin’s early days, rising Kraken from a small startup to a serious trade with a fame for product innovation. But whereas a well-liked determine in crypto circles, Powell has additionally change into a determine of controversy due his unconventional positions on matters like variety, abortion and vaccines.

In an interview with Fortune, Powell mentioned his resolution to step again from the CEO function has nothing to do with media outcry—together with a latest unflattering New York Times feature—however as an alternative as a result of he has grown uninterested in lengthy hours and day-to-day administration duties.

“For me, this about spending more time on stuff which I’m good at and enjoy doing like working on product and industry advocacy stuff,” he mentioned including that he’s wanting ahead to catching up on private issues, together with “11 years of unopened mail.”

Powell, who’s Kraken’s largest shareholder and can keep on as chairman of its board, says the corporate ran an in depth CEO search and and interviewed greater than a dozen candidates earlier than selecting Ripley to succeed him.

Ripley, who plans to step totally into the highest job as soon as Kraken finds a brand new COO, says he relishes the duty of managing massive groups and that he expects little will change in terms of the corporate’s tradition.

“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,” mentioned Ripley.

Powell famous that Ripley was a co-author of a controversial “culture document” during which Kraken management explicitly rejected mandates to advertise variety and inclusion.

In a latest Twitter thread associated to the doc, Powell wrote that “Most people don’t care and just want to work but they can’t be productive while triggered people keep dragging them in to debates and therapy sessions.”

In talking with Fortune, Powell described the tradition doc as one of many excessive factors of his tenure at Kraken, saying it led to the next degree of cohesion on the firm and a surge in purposes to work there.

Meanwhile, Powell and Ripley say Kraken’s enterprise is flourishing, and that the corporate “piled up a ton of cash” through the latest bull market that may assist it climate the present downturn.

Powell was cagey when it got here to the subject of going public, a transfer it contemplated in 2021 earlier than backing away. He famous that he had “gotten in trouble” up to now over talking publicly concerning the subject, however hinted {that a} public providing of 1 sort or different continues to be on the horizon.

The Kraken founder additionally reiterated his longtime libertarian views, predicting that crypto will develop in reputation even amid macroeconomic tumult.

“The world is a changing place and Bitcoin is anti-fragile and a safe haven from what’s happening in the legacy financial system,” he mentioned.



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