The former president of FTX US, Brett Harrison, published a 49-part Twitter thread explaining why he left the firm and his relationship with co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) of FTX. Before his role at FTX US, Harrison worked with SBF at Jane Street and prior to joining FTX, he worked for Citadel Securities. In the Twitter thread, the former president of the U.S. subsidiary explained that his “relationship with Sam Bankman-Fried and his deputies had reached a point of total deterioration, after months of disputes over management practices at FTX.”
Brett Harrison’s Deteriorating Relationship With FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Leads to Resignation
On Jan. 14, 2023, Brett Harrison, the former president of FTX US, shared his personal account of his experience working at FTX US, the United States-based crypto exchange company, for seventeen months. Harrison described his days with the U.S. exchange in a 49-part Twitter thread that goes into great detail. Initially, Harrison was excited to join the company, but over time, his relationship with the company’s CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), deteriorated due to disputes over management practices.
“Six months into my time at the company, pronounced cracks began to form in my own relationship with Sam,” Harrison said. “Around then I began advocating strongly for establishing separation and independence for the executive, legal, and developer teams of FTX US, and Sam disagreed.”
Despite facing immense pressure, Harrison persisted in disagreeing with the CEO of FTX, whose sway over various industries was both pervasive and unyielding. Harrison said others at FTX US shared his dissent towards the CEO and his inner circle, as he remarked that it was a team of seasoned professionals from reputable firms in U.S. finance, law, and regulated exchanges.
“Our collective experience and professional acumen were frequently treated as though they were irrelevant and valueless. It was extremely frustrating for all of us,” Harrison insisted. Harrison added:
Sam was uncomfortable with conflict. He responded at times with dysregulated hostility, at times with gaslighting and manipulation, but ultimately chose to isolate me from communication on key decision-making.
Harrison Resigned From FTX on Sept. 27, 2022, After Attempts to Address Organizational Problems at the Company
Ultimately Harrison decided to leave the company and founded his own firm because he felt that the “dream job” of working at FTX US was not worth it due to the deterioration of the relationship with SBF. Harrison said SBF’s behavior and decisions were influenced by insecurity and volatility in temperament.
In early April 2022, Harrison made a final attempt to address the organizational problems at FTX US by making a formal complaint. In response, he was threatened with being fired and having his professional reputation destroyed by Bankman-Fried if he did not retract his complaint and apologize. This event solidified Harrison’s decision to leave the company. He wanted to ensure that the company was well-positioned for success after his departure, so he left the company in an orderly manner.
1/ An announcement: I’m stepping down as President of @FTX_Official. Over the next few months I’ll be transferring my responsibilities and moving into an advisory role at the company.
— Brett Harrison (@BrettHarrison88) September 27, 2022
“So I gradually wound down, finished building and releasing the US stock brokerage, and saw FTX US employees through their mid-year reviews,” Harrison said. “I never could have guessed that underlying these kinds of issues … which I’d seen at other more mature firms in my career and believed not to be fatal to business success … was multi-billion-dollar fraud,” Harrison remarked.
Harrison added that he has received apologies from many people who are aware that he had no involvement in the criminal scheme. He has learned a lot about the industry over the last few months, some people treated him differently, while some offered sympathy and support. He also mentions that it will be difficult to forget the frenzied and baseless accusations leveled against him on social media.
When Harrison left FTX US last year, SBF told Bloomberg that the executive’s departure had been in the works for “a little while.” The news outlet also asked SBF about his own succession plans, and the FTX CEO said at the time that he had no plans to leave FTX and he would be there “for the long term.”
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