Swiss SIX Digital Exchange CEO Departs Due to ‘Strategic Differences’

Martin Halblaub will step down after eight months into his job when his contract expires at the end of August following disagreements on how the trading platform should be run.

The CEO of Switzerland’s SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), the cryptocurrency-focused arm of the the country’s principal SIX Swiss Exchange, is departing the company, local news outlet SwissInfo reported on Aug. 14.

Halblaub’s temporary successor will be Tomas Kindler, who will take place as the firm’s CEO on Sep. 1. SIX Group CEO Jos Dijsselhof also thanked Halblaub in an internal company memo, saying that he successfully led the company through its initial phase.

CEO departs before SDX launch

Halblaub reportedly wanted SDX to launch as an independent company, while the board of the parent company – SIX Group – disagreed. He commented on the decision:

“I fully support SDX’s ambition and business model and would have loved to lead SDX into the future. However, I have decided with a heavy heart – given our differing ideas on strategy, combined with the stretch the role is for my life model – that I cannot engage in a long term commitment as Head of SDX.”

SIX Digital Exchange known for pioneering crypto products

SIX is known for being one of the first stock exchanges in the world to offer a Bitcoin and crypto exchange product. In November 2018, SIX listed a pioneering cryptocurrency exchange-traded product, which tracks five major cryptos including Bitcoin.

As Cointelegraph reported in May, a top SIX Exchange executive has revealed the company will look to issue its own digital tokens as part of its forthcoming blockchain-powered digital exchange.

In July 2019, SIX also announced that it hopes to become the first market infrastructure in the world to offer a fully integrated end to end trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets.

Ultimately, SIX expects its blockchain-based SDX digital exchange to supersede its existing marketplace within a decade. The company is also considering launching its own Security Token Offering – pending regulator approval – which will offer investors an equity stake in exchange for capital.

Head of SIX’s Digital Asset Exchange Quits Over Strategy Disagreement

Switzerland’s SIX stock exchange has just lost a key executive in charge of its digital assets exchange, SDX.

As reported by SwissInfo.ch on Thursday, SDX CEO Martin Halblaub has announced he will be departing the exchange just eight months after taking on the role.

A disagreement over the future direction of the in-development exchange is said to be behind the move, with Halblaub having wanted to spin off the SDX into an independent company. The board however felt the upcoming platform should stay in the SIX Group fold.

In a memo circulated internally by SIX on Tuesday, Halblaub is quoted as saying:

“I fully support SDX’s ambition and business model and would have loved to lead SDX into the future. However, I have decided with a heavy heart – given our differing ideas on strategy, combined with the stretch the role is for my life model – that I cannot engage in a long term commitment as Head of SDX.”

Replacing Halblaub as interim CEO on Sept. 1 will be Tomas Kindler – currently head of business management and deputy to Thomas Zeeb, SIX’s head of securities and exchanges.

Kindler may ultimately stay on as CEO, but the exchange said it has a launched a search for candidates for the role.

Halblaub has also been a senior advisor to SIX since 2016, and will “continue to be available to support SDX”, according to the memo which was penned by Zeeb.

In May, Zeeb indicated that the SIX’s planned digital exchange will go live with a native token and an “initial digital offering” (IDO) service in 2020. That would follow a trial expected to be completed late this summer.

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