Bakkt’s chief financial officer is leaving the firm next month after a little over a year with the Georgia-based crypto startup.
Announced on Friday, the exit of Drew LaBenne is the latest big-name departure for the firm, which saw its president and early employee Adam White leave at the end of 2021. The firm’s chief accounting officer Karen Alexander is stepping into the role on an interim basis. Alexander previously worked at GE Capital in finance and accounting roles.
In an employee communication obtained by The Block, the firm said:
“Earlier this week, Drew LaBenne informed me that he will be stepping down as Chief Financial Officer of Bakkt next month. Drew has been a fantastic leader, shepherding our Company through several pivotal moments – our public listing, building out our finance & risk organizations, telling our story to investors, and much more.”
Bakkt first entered the market in 2018 with plans to launch a slate of digital asset tied initiatives — namely, bitcoin derivatives — and has since launched its own retail application that supports crypto purchases and allows users to convert certain reward points into cash. Bakkt also offers its technology to third-party businesses and merchants, enabling them to offer crypto-related services to their end clients.
Bakkt was originally bootstrapped by exchange giant Intercontinental Exchange and its first chief executive officer Kelly Loeffler, the wife of ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher. Loeffler left the firm in 2019 when she was tapped to fill one of Georgia’s seats in the US Senate.
LaBenne — who joined Bakkt in 2021 – previously served as chief financial officer of Amalgamated Finance Corp from 2015 to 2021. He previously worked at banking giant JPMorgan as the chief financial officer of its banking business from 2013 to 2015, according to his biography on Bakkt’s website.
LaBenne also led the firm’s efforts to go public, according to the memo.
A spokeswoman for the firm said, “We greatly appreciate Drew’s contributions to Bakkt during a pivotal time for the company and thank him for his service.”
“We are confident that Karen Alexander, formerly the Chief Accounting Officer of Bakkt, is well-positioned to step in as interim CFO, given her extensive financial expertise and deep understanding of Bakkt,” the spokeswoman continued.
The exit comes amid a significant drawdown in Bakkt’s share price, which has been under pressure alongside other US equities in the crypto and technology sectors.
Shares in Bakkt are down more than 70% this year, trading at about $2.46 a share—down from an all-time high above $40 last year.