ICE-backed crypto startup Bakkt has promoted Mike Blandina to the CEO role, replacing the outgoing chief executive Kelly Loeffler, who announced plans to leave her post after she was appointed to a Georgia Senate seat earlier this month.
Bakkt has also elevated its current chief operating officer (COO) Adam White to serve as president of the company.
Blandina has approximately 25 years of experience in payment products and partnership-driven business. The new CEO has joined Bakkt’s leadership team as Chief Product Officer in April.
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 is 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.
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“As CEO, Mike will chart Bakkt’s strategic direction, payment products and markets, as well as overseeing the regulatory and financial performance of the company. His more than 25 years of experience in payments across product, engineering, strategy and operations will continue to serve us well,” said ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher.
Loeffler leaves after 16 years
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.
“In his new role as President, Adam will focus on digital asset markets, custody and trading, as well as Bakkt’s strategic direction. Adam’s breadth of experience in crypto markets, and his work as a founding executive at Bakkt, give him a unique perspective that will help shape our future successes,” added Sprecher.
Loeffler will officially leave Bakkt and ICE on December 31, ending a 16-year tenure. She worked alongside ICE’s founder and chief, who’s also her husband, and led the company since Intercontinental Exchange, along with Starbucks, Microsoft, and BCG, announced the backing of Bakkt to offer bitcoin futures contract that is actually delivered.