Jesse Powell, co-founder of crypto exchange Kraken, plans to step down as CEO, Kraken confirmed to CoinDesk. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the news. From the report: Kraken’s current COO, Dave Ripley, will take over as CEO once someone is hired to replace Ripley. According to the company’s press release, Powell plans to continue working with Kraken. He will become Kraken’s board chairman and continue to work on product development and advocacy for the crypto industry.
The outspoken Powell, an early proponent of Bitcoin (BTC), who founded Kraken in 2011, has been at the center of several controversies surrounding the company this year. In June, Powell criticized a contingent of “woke activists” at the company and ordered disgruntled employees to quit, sparking a socio-political debate that has rocked the crypto industry and beyond. In July, reports surfaced that the U.S. Treasury Department was investigating Kraken for allegedly allowing Iranian users to use the platform, a violation of international sanctions against the Iranian regime.
Powell denied that these controversies prompted his decision to step down as CEO, telling Bloomberg that he informed Kraken’s board of his departure more than a year ago. Instead, he wrote down the solution to something more banal – boredom. “As the company got bigger, I got more exhausted and less engaged,” Powell told Bloomberg.