The Libra Association has named HSBC Chief Legal Officer Stuart Levey as its first chief executive.
The Facebook-created consortium announced Wednesday that Levey would be joining “later this summer” and will be overseeing its efforts to “combine technology innovation with a robust compliance and regulatory framework.” He has been at HSBC since 2012.
Levey previously served the U.S. government as Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence under the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and has a background in combating illicit finance.
He oversaw sanctions enforcement through the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control and anti-money laundering regulations through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), according to a press release.
Levey had already taken on the HSBC role by the time the bank was fined nearly $2 billion by the U.S. Department of Justice for failing to stop the transmission of funds from drug-running by its customers. The bank was required to take steps to mitigate this risk moving forward but was otherwise not heavily penalized.
“I am honored to join the Libra Association as it charts a bold path forward to harness the power of technology to transform the global payments landscape,” Levey said in a statement. “Technology provides us with the opportunity to make it easier for individuals and businesses to send and receive money, and to empower more than a billion people who have been left on the sidelines of the financial system, all with robust controls to detect and deter illicit financial activity.”
Levey said he looks forward to working with governments and regulators in building out the Libra project.
Libra has made a number of public moves recently, announcing new members including global nonprofit Heifer International and ecommerce site Checkout.com. The consortium, unveiled by Facebook last June, has also begun the process to receive a payments license through the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.
The group did not announce a revised launch date for the libra stablecoins, which were originally set to go live within the first half of 2020. Libra revamped its original vision last month, scaling back plans for a global stablecoin in favor of a series of fiat-backed stablecoins.
In a statement, Libra Association board member and Andreessen Horowitz partner Katie Haun said, “Stuart brings to the Libra Association the rare combination of an accomplished leader in both the government, where he enjoyed bipartisan respect and influence, and the private sector where he managed teams spread across the globe.”
She added: “This unique experience allows him to bring a wealth of knowledge in banking, finance, regulatory policy and national security to the Association and strike the right balance between innovation and regulation.”
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