Celsius CEO and FTX US President has stepped down

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Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by Bitfinsider

Alex Mashinsky, CEO and founder of the bankrupt cryptocurrency lending firm Celsius, and Brett Harrison, president of FTX US, both resigned on Tuesday.

Mashinsky’s resignation comes amid the company’s bankruptcy proceedings, which began in July.

“I regret that my continued role as CEO has become an increasing distraction, and I am deeply sorry for the difficult financial circumstances that members of our community are experiencing,” Mashinsky said in his resignation letter. “Since the pause, I have worked tirelessly to assist the Company and its advisors in developing a viable plan… to return coins to creditors in the most equitable and efficient manner.”

Celsius froze customer withdrawals in June due to liquidity issues, and the following month was hit with a lawsuit by a former employee accusing the company of being a Ponzi scheme. It declared bankruptcy in July, revealing a $1.19 billion deficit.

In August, CNBC reported that hundreds of Celsius’ 1.7 million customers had written letters urging the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to help them access the money they had invested with Celsius, and that some of them were “homeless, suicidal, and down to the last $1,000.”

According to a bankruptcy court filing, Celsius CFO Chris Ferraro, a former head of financial analysis at JPMorgan Chase, will serve as interim CEO and chief restructuring officer. According to his LinkedIn profile, Ferraro joined the company in March as head of financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and investor relations, and was promoted to CFO in July.

Mashinsky will continue to serve on Celsius’ board of directors. He stated that he will “continue to focus [his] efforts on helping the community unite behind a plan that will provide the best outcome for all creditors.”

FTX developments

Harrison’s resignation comes just one day after FTX US was awarded the bid to acquire the assets of Voyager Digital for more than $1.4 billion.

On Tuesday, Harrison announced his resignation via Twitter, stating that he would be “transferring [his] responsibilities and moving into an advisory role” at FTX US.

Zach Dexter has taken over as CEO of FTX US, succeeding Harrison. Dexter joined FTX US in August 2021, when the company began its acquisition of LedgerX, a crypto platform he co-founded. The transaction was completed in October of last year.

Harrison has not yet provided details regarding his post-FTX US plans, but he did state that he would “assist [FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried] and the team with this transition to ensure FTX ends the year with all of its characteristic momentum.”

Bankman-Fried is thinking about purchasing the assets of Celsius, which could have an impact on how FTX US and Celsius move forward.

Harrison had been the CEO of FTX US since last year, growing the company from three to more than 100 employees. He reflected on his time at the firm in his resignation tweet, saying, “working together to build a nascent crypto exchange into a multi-business enterprise; writing a retail equities trading platform and building a US brokerage; acquiring LedgerX and Embed; getting to know and work with regulators and lawmakers; participating in shaping crypto policy in the US; and many more.”

Mashinsky and Harrison’s resignations come less than a week after Kraken CEO Jesse Powell announced his resignation from the company he founded 11 years ago, a decision he’d been deliberating for “quite some time.”

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