In the last year, it seems that a new pattern has been emerging. CEOs from some of the largest most respected companies in the world are suddenly leaving their positions. And more shocking than them leaving these 6-7 figure positions is the companies they are leaving them for. Startup cryptocurrencies and blockchain development companies have been picking them up left, right and center. Most of these companies, which are sometimes less than 5% the size of the companies being left, are drawing more attention than their mainstream counterparts could ever hope to. A cursory Google search shows in the last week there have been more than 10 reports, of 10 different CEOs all dropping their positions to join the blockchain.
More intriguing than them going to work for these companies is the reason behind many of the moves. These men and women are leaving positions that are paying them millions of dollars a year, why would any educated person leave a company with that type of stability to go and work for that Buffet, or Gates say might collapse in the next year or two? One reason, potential.
One of the latest stories to come out is Commonwealth Bank of Australia's (CBA) CFO resigning with immediate effect to join and run Cayman Island-based cryptocurrency company, Block.one. The firm is a publisher of open-source software with a focus on blockchain technologies, from offices in Hong Kong. Their latest endeavor, the EOSIO project is being billed as "the first performant blockchain platform for developers". When asked for comment, Blockone CEO Brendan Blumer said "Rob has a proven track record of success in global financial services. His alignment with our organizational priorities of creating compliant, high-performance blockchain solutions is an ideal fit for Block.one, and is an exciting conclusion to our thorough search for the right individual."
Just a year and a half after taking her position as JP Morgan’s head of the Blockchain Center of Excellence, Amber Baldet is leaving to start her own business, as reported by Reuters. As of yet, there have been no details released on what her new venture is or involves. Christine Moy, a senior product manager with the center, will take over Baldet's position, according to the memo. Moy worked with Baldet and the center from the start and has been leading blockchain product development across JPMorgan's investor services and capital markets businesses, Farooq wrote. A JPMorgan spokeswoman said in a statement that "Amber is extremely talented and helped build the outstanding team we have today. We respect her desire to start her own venture and we wish her nothing but the best."
Even beyond executives leaving for blockchain companies, we are also starting to see more and more support from the top of large financial companies. Last week on the CNN podcast “Boss Files”, Adena Friedman, was again championing cryptocurrencies. The CEO of Nasdaq was quoted saying “How it evolves and which of the cryptocurrencies may or may not be the one that ultimately gets embraced, I think that really the jury is still out on that. But I do think the idea of a more globalized payment mechanism that is more efficient than what we have today allows for money to transfer across countries and certainly supports the Internet economy… It feels it’s the right step in the space of currency”.
FedEx CEO, Fred Smith, said at Consensus 2018 "Blockchain has the potential to completely revolutionize what's across the border." Again reaffirming his commitment and belief that blockchain will be the future of the logistics industry. He stated that he believed the biggest issue with cross-border transportation was the "massive amount of friction" since most countries still have different standards, regulations, and terminologies. He told the audience: "For cross-border shipments, 'trust' is the legal requirement for every transaction. What blockchain has is a potential for the first time ever to make the information available for everybody." As such, the FedEx chief praised the "chain of custody" that blockchain can bring to the entire logistics industry. All this talk isn't just hot air, either - FedEx joined the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA) in February this year in a bid to explore potential blockchain applications alongside other partners within the logistics industry. At the time, the firm also launched a pilot program to establish what data would be needed for a distributed ledger to ease disputes between customers sending and receiving goods through FedEx. The shipping giant also wants to use blockchain to store its records.
With these latest exits from large financial firms for blockchain startups and the new and continued support from fortune 500 company CEOs, this year is shaping up to be a very big year in terms of talent acquisition. The potential of blockchain and it's possible application to nearly every sector has proven to be a draw that just cannot be ignored, even by those with 6-figure tenure with some of the largest companies in the world. And while that new talent and support are amazing for the crypto space, we believe the coverage being generated by these moves might be the best part. For the common person to see these executives leaving their position for these new startups to work with a technology they may have never heard of will bring new interest from people who may not have known about the tech previously.