SIX Digital Exchange head exits over strategy differences

SDX on the lookout for a new head of the digital exchange as lead steps down because of differences of opinion over strategy.

The head of SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) is set to depart at the end of the month claiming he cannot engage in a long-term commitment to the project because of a difference of ideas on strategy, according to a memo seen by The TRADE News Crypto.

Martin Halblaub had led the digital asset exchange for just eight months, which has emerged as a pioneer among incumbent capital markets trading venues, through its initial phase after it was announced last summer.

He will step down on 30 August 2019 and will be replaced in the interim by Tomas Kindler, who is currently managing director, head business management and services, securities and exchanges at SIX.

SIX said in the memo that an executive search has been launched for a new permanent head SDX, a role for which Kindler is “a strong candidate”.

Along with the strategy differences, Halblaub also said the role had become a stretch for his life model, and with a “heavy heart” he could not engage in a long-term commitment as head of SDX.

“Martin led SDX through its initial phase with great success,” said Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX. “He helped shape SDX’s ambition, strategy and business model and has built a strong Management team around him. We thank him for his support during this phase.”

The Swiss stock exchange announced the new initiative to create an integrated infrastructure for the digital asset value chain in July 2018, addressing the divide between existing trading and post-trade activity and the emerging frameworks for the burgeoning crypto investment environment. 

The offering on the exchange owned and managed by SIX became the first fully integrated trading, settlement and custody for digital assets from a market infrastructure provider.

The memo written by SIX’s head of securities and exchanges, Thomas Zeeb, stated that Halblaub has expressed his willingness to continue to be involved in SDX in his role as senior advisor.