The CEO of blockchain tech startup Ripple has decided to step aside for the firm’s current COO and president.
Reports Tuesday (Nov. 1) said Chris Larsen will end his position as CEO of Ripple, with COO and President Brad Garlinghouse taking his place effective Jan. 1, 2017. According to a statement from Larsen, the executive will continue to play an active role in the development of the blockchain firm. Reports said he will remain a controlling shareholder and added that he looks “forward to taking a break from the day-to-day, while staying highly involved in Ripple’s strategic direction.”
Under his direction, Larsen led Ripple to raise $93 million from investors, most recently closing a $55 million round last month led by Standard Chartered, Accenture Ventures, SCB Digital Ventures and SBI Holdings. Larsen was also involved in a recent trial that saw 12 R3 member banks test Ripple’s distributed financial technology and the potential for its digital asset to scale liquidity and reduce the costs and inefficiencies of interbank cross-border payments.
“I feel good about making this change next year,” Larsen added. “The business is stronger than ever, and we have such an obvious and capable choice for CEO in Brad Garlinghouse. Brad was central to driving the focus and rigor in our organization that’s fueled Ripple’s ascension.”
While Ripple has undoubtedly become one of the market’s top blockchain startups, the company isn’t without its controversies.
Last September, Ripple publicly questioned the effectiveness of the Global Payments Innovation initiative of payments technology firm SWIFT. GPII, Ripple stated, is “an iteration of exactly what SWIFT provides today with a marginal increase in speed for availability of funds.”
Ripple followed with a series of blog posts to challenge SWIFT’s initiative, pointing out what it saw as “flaws” in SWIFT’s faster global payments efforts. In an interview with PYMNTS, SWIFT Head of Payments Initiatives for the Americas and U.K. Region Stacy Rosenthal took a diplomatic stance in response to the criticism.
“There are different perspectives when it comes to [GPII],” she said. “And at the end of the day, there will always be competitors and new market entrants.”