Kraken’s Jesse Powell on Why He Decided to Step Down as CEO

The news of Kraken CEO Jesse Powell stepping down from the cryptocurrency exchange he founded in 2011 is a major change. The executive was recently criticized for allegedly “fostering a hateful workplace and damaging his mental health,” according to a New York Times article.

But Powell believes the whole fiasco was a “blessing in disguise” and turned out to be a positive for the company.

Powell’s comments Post the step

Despite the market downturn, Kraken has posted relatively stronger financial results than its competitors. But certain comments from the former boss sparked outrage. In an interview with Protocol, the often controversial executive said his decision to step down as CEO has nothing to do with the media outcry.

“After that, we actually had an increase in new job applicants, an unprecedented number of new job applicants, a lot of people saying they’re tired of the woke jobs they’re in and that the I’d love to work at a place like Kraken with the kind of culture we have.”

Powell said the whole incident served to “encourage and galvanize” the team. He added that the controversy helped Kraken “take a lot of bad fits out of the company.” He now plans to focus more on product development and industry advocacy.

Labor culture controversy

From questioning that women have equal intelligence to calling American women “brainwashed” to saying staff shouldn’t be able to choose their pronouns and asking who should be allowed to use the N-word, the feature in the New York Times made some surprising claims about the work culture at Kraken and the former CEO’s conversations with employees.

Powell had retaliated in a Twitter thread,

“Most people don’t care and just want to work, but they can’t be productive while triggered people drag them into discussions and therapy sessions.”

The controversial “cultural document” became significant here as the leadership ordered against promoting diversity and inclusion. The culture document, according to Powell, is one of the highlights of his tenure at the crypto exchange. He said it helped bring greater cohesion to the company, as well as an increase in job applications.


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