ICE-backed crypto startup Bakkt has parted ways with its chief executive Mike Blandina, barely four month after he has taken on the CEO role in December 2019. Blandina, who is moving to pursue a new opportunity in payments sector with JPMorgan Chase & Co, replaced Kelly Loeffler, who left her post after she was appointed to a Georgia Senate seat.
ICE’s Vice President of M&A and Integration, David Clifton, will take over as Interim CEO of Bakkt. The crypto startup confirmed that Adam White, who was elevated from chief operating officer (COO) to serve as president, will continue in his role.
Clifton has originally joined ICE in 2008 as Associate General Counsel and during his 12-year tenure he played a “leading role” in the company’s M&A deals, including the 2013 acquisition of NYSE Euronext, the exchange operator said.
“In his interim role at Bakkt, Clifton will focus on completing the integration of Bridge2 Solutions, which Bakkt acquired earlier this year, while also driving forward Bakkt’s growth initiatives,” the statement further reads.
Bakkt, a cryptocurrency platform owned by the New York Stock Exchange owner, closed last month a massive Series B funding round from a group of high profile investors and venture capital firms to the tune of $300 million.
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Loeffler leaves after 16 years
The outgoing CEO joined Bakkt’s leadership team as Chief Product Officer in April 2019. Blandina has approximately 25 years of experience in payment products and partnership-driven business.
Earlier in his career, Blandina was head of payments and credit engineering at PayPal and director of engineering for Google Wallet. He was also in charge of Blackhawk Network’s digital payment solutions and overseeing the company’s technological functions.
With his vast experience in payments, Blandina’s direct responsibility was to drive the growth and expansion of Bakkt’s ecosystem as the brainchild of NYSE’s CEO also works on rolling-out a cryptocurrency mobile application for retail consumers, as well as a merchant portal.
Bakkt has been adding new talents to build out its crypto platform, which aims to facilitate cryptocurrency trading for Wall Street firms in a way that is just as easy as trading traditional assets. This also included poaching key executives from rivals such as its newest president, Adam White, who joined from Coinbase in 2018.
White has been described as a prime architect of Coinbase’s growth, as he was the fifth person ever to join the now-giant cryptocurrency exchange.