Bitcoin warehouse and Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary Bakkt officially has a new head.
The company announced Monday that chief product officer Mike Blandina has become the new CEO of the company, effective December 20. He succeeds outgoing CEO Kelly Loeffler, who was recently appointed to become the next Senator from the state of Georgia. Adam White, the company’s chief operating officer, will serve as the company’s president.
Blandina joined Bakkt in April, following stints at PayPal and Google. He comes from a background in payments tech, having been director of engineering at Google’s Wallet project.
Loeffler has run Bakkt since its formal announcement in August 2018, overseeing the company as it worked to launch its physically-delivered bitcoin futures products, the first such in the U.S.
Under her tenure, Bakkt also announced it would be launching options on top of its existing futures, as well as cash-settled bitcoin futures through a Singapore-based affiliate.
Both of those products went live earlier this month.
Her successor, Blandina, will continue to oversee Bakkt’s expansion, including the rollout of a consumer-facing retail app meant to facilitate small-item purchases using bitcoin. Starbucks, which was announced as a research partner when Bakkt was first launched in 2018, will be a launch partner for this app.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announced that he would appoint Loeffler to fill current Senator Johnny Isakson’s seat at the beginning of December, making her the first crypto company executive to serve in the upper chamber of the U.S. legislature. In her introductory remarks, Loeffler praised U.S. president Donald Trump, who wanted Congressman Doug Collins to fill the seat, but did not mention bitcoin or cryptocurrencies.
Loeffler will be sworn into office on Jan. 1, 2020. In a statement released the day her appointment was made official, ICE said she would have to step down from her CEO position during the transition.
Notably, Loeffler appears the first ICE executive to hold a “CEO” title at one of the exchange’s subsidiaries. While ICE itself has a CEO, Jeffrey Sprecher (Loeffler’s husband), its subsidiaries appear to be run by presidents or other C-level executives, including ICE Futures US (Trabue Bland), ICE Clear US (Hester Serafini), ICE Data Services (Lynn Martin) and ICE Futures Singapore (Lucas Schmeddes).
Correction (Dec. 23, 2019, 14:20 UTC): An earlier version of this article said Mike Blandina would become Bakkt’s president. He has been named CEO, with Adam White serving as president.
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