Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) received a hefty payout from Bakkt’s parent company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) as she left to take up her political position.
According to securities filings cited by the New York Times on Wednesday, Loeffler was given “stock and other awards worth more than $9 million” when she departed her role as CEO of ICE’s bitcoin-focused company to join the U.S. Senate.
Loeffler led Bakkt, a bitcoin spot and derivatives exchange servicing institutional investors, from its launch in 2018 until around the time she was appointed to the Senate in December. Bakkt also developed a consumer-focused payments app integrated into Starbucks’ mobile payment system .
Loefller’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the founder and CEO of ICE.
Loeffler’s departure from ICE incurred compensation totaling $9 million in the form of “shares, stock options and other instruments,” according to the report, which she had previously been granted but was set to lose if she left Bakkt.
According to securities filings cited by the Times, Loeffler had millions in restricted stock and options that were not eligible for sale when she left the firm on Dec. 20. Typically, when an executive departs from a company he or she gives up stock compensation.
ICE, however, altered the terms of the award, allowing her to keep it all, including the largest portion of the deal – a stake in Bakkt, valued at around $7.8 million.
Loeffler received much criticism earlier this year after she reportedly sold between $1.3 million and $3.2 million in stock following a private Senate briefing on COVID-19.
The senator and Sprecher made a total of 29 transactions in the weeks after the Jan. 24 briefing, the Daily Beast reported. In March, a major crash hit stocks over fears of the coronavirus’s effects on the global economy.
ICE pushed back in a statement at the time, saying Loeffler and Sprecher “have made clear that those transactions were executed by their financial advisers without Mr. Sprecher’s or Senator Loeffler’s input or direction,” adding that the trades complied with company policies.
Loeffler is currently in a primary race to maintain her seat against U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican, and then against Democrats looking to flip the seat blue in the November election.
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