Jesse Powell, co-founder of crypto exchange Kraken, is planning to step down as CEO, Kraken confirmed with CoinDesk. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the news.
Kraken’s current chief operating officer, Dave Ripley, will take over as CEO once someone is hired to fill Ripley's position.
According to a press release issued by the company, Powell plans to remain involved with Kraken. He will become chairman of Kraken's board and will continue working on product development and crypto industry advocacy.
The outspoken Powell, an early advocate of bitcoin (BTC) who founded Kraken in 2011, has been at the center of several company-related controversies this year. In June, Powell criticized a contingent of "woke activists" inside the company and told unhappy employees to quit, sparking a social-political debate that roiled the crypto industry and beyond.
In July, reports emerged that Kraken was being investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department for allegedly allowing Iranian users to use the platform – a violation of international sanctions against the Iranian regime.
Powell has denied that these controversies spurred his decision to step down as CEO, telling Bloomberg that he informed Kraken's board of his impending departure over a year ago.
Instead, he chalked up the decision to something much more banal – boredom.
"As the company has gotten bigger, it's just gotten to be more draining on me, less fun," Powell told Bloomberg.
UPDATE (Sept. 21, 18:44 UTC): Removed "report" from headline and added Kraken's confirmation.
UPDATE (Sept. 21, 19:15 UTC): Added background on Powell and Kraken throughout.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.
Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.