Strategic Differences Force SIX Digital Exchange CEO to Depart

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SIX Digital Exchange (SDK), the crypto driven arm of Switzerland’s principal SIX Swiss Exchange, has parted ways with its Chief Executive Officer.

The news of the departure was reported by local news outlet SwissInfo yesterday. Per the report, soon-to-be-former CEO Martin Halblaub will be stepping down at the end of this month, when his contract expires. He only just came into the role about eight months ago, but due to inevitable disagreements as regards how the trading exchange should be ideally run, he won’t be continuing in his capacity as CEO.

Citing a company memo, SwissInfo reported Halblaub’s vision for the SDX was for the company to run on its own, as an independent entity. However, the board of SIX Group- SDX’s parent company- didn’t see things that way. They preferred to run the exchange under the umbrella of the SIX, essentially maintaining the status quo.

Speaking on his decision to jump ship, Halblaub reportedly said, “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.”

SwissInfo announced that Tomas Kindler would temporarily replace Halblaub. Kindler currently serves under Thomas Zeeb, the head of Securities and Exchanges at the SIX. He will take the role of chief executive on September 1, most likely in a tentative manner until a statutory CEO can be appointed.

Zeeb reportedly added that they had begun an “executive search” to find a replacement, permanent CEO, adding that Kindler is one of their principal candidates for the job. The securities head also mentioned that Halblaub would remain in the fold, as he has expressed interest in continuing as a Senior Advisor to the SDX.

The SIX was one of the very first traditional stock trading platforms to offer a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange product. The company made a move back in 2018, when it listed a crypto exchange-traded product that keeps track of five major crypto assets.

Just last month, the company revealed its plans to become the very first market player in the world to provide a fully integrated, end-to-end service for settlements, custody, and trading in crypto assets.

In a press release at the time, the company claimed that the new service would provide a secure and stable environment for the issuance and trading of cryptocurrencies. It will also provide support for tokenizing existing securities and other non-bankable assets, substantially enabling trading possibilities for erstwhile untradeable assets.

The custody and trading service will be based on blockchain technology, as the company sees this as a proper way to transition traditional financial clients into the crypto space.

All in all, the stock exchange is hoping that the digital exchange will be able to overhaul the entire existing marketplace in a matter of 10 years.

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About Jimmy Aki

Jimmy has been following the development of blockchain for several years, and he is optimistic about its potential to democratize the financial system.