Coinbase Legal Officer Leaves for COO Role at US Regulator

Brooks has originally landed at Coinbase in 2018 at a time when the crypto venue was expanding its compliance capabilities.

Another Coinbase top senior executive has left the cryptocurrency industry unicorn for a US regulatory body. Brian Brooks, who worked as the chief legal officer at Coinbase for nearly two years, is transitioning out of his role over the next couple of weeks to join the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC).

Brooks has originally landed at Coinbase in 2018 at a time when the major crypto venue was expanding its compliance capabilities amid intensifying regulatory scrutiny of the nascent market.

He will take on the second-highest position at the OCC bureau, which oversees the federal banking system of the United States, effective April 1, 2020. Brooks was appointed as senior deputy comptroller and chief operating officer, a role created to enhance the agency’s reporting structure.

He replaces Morris Morgan, who has been with the OCC since 1985 and will be tasked with managing the bank supervision unit as well as the policy, economics, compliance, and community affairs.

“Brian brings an extensive career of legal, banking, and financial innovation expertise to the agency. He is a visionary thinker with a passion for service and a deep understanding of how the financial services industry supports our nation’s prosperity. We are fortunate to attract such an experienced and talented individual to join our federal agency,” said Comptroller of the Currency Joseph M. Otting.

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Coinbase reshuffles management team

Prior to Coinbase, Brian spent four years as executive vice president and corporate secretary of Fannie Mae, one of the US largest mortgage finance companies. During this period, he also led the company’s legal department and government relations group and was a senior advisor to the CEO and board of directors.

Other stops included the head of the legal department at OneWest Bank, NA, where he was responsible for managing the bank’s senior regulatory relationships.

The news represents the latest in a series of high-profile executives’ additions and departures at the US largest cryptocurrency exchange in the last few months. In the last quarter, Coinbase hired Dan Yoo as VP of business and data, replacing the crypto exchange’s COO Emilie Choi, who was promoted to the role back in May following the departure of the president and chief operating officer, Asiff Hirji.

Hirji’s exit followed the departure of Timothy Plakas, who was running Coinbase’s OTC trading desk. Adam White, the fifth employee of Coinbase, joining the firm in 2013, also departed and instead landed at ICE-backed cryptocurrency exchange, Bakkt.

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