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SIX Digital Exchange CEO departs

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Yesterday Swiss Info revealed that Martin Halblaub, the CEO of SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) is leaving at the end of August over strategic differences. Halblaub has been an advisor to SIX since 2016 and became CEO of SDX in January this year. Apparently, the difference related to whether SDX would be part of the same company or a separate entity. Halblaub believed SDX should be independent.

“I fully support SDX’s ambition and business model and would have loved to lead SDX into the future. However, I have decided with a heavy heart – given our differing ideas on strategy, combined with the stretch the role is for my life model – that I cannot engage in a long term commitment as Head of SDX,” Halblaub is quoted as saying in an internal memo.

Halblaub was previously with Norddeutsche Landesbank and before that was President of the Hannover Stock Exchange for two years. He will be replaced on an interim basis by Tomas Kindler, who is currently SIX’s Head Business Management & Services Securities & Exchanges. Kindler is an eight-year veteran with SIX and in 2014/15 he was also chairman of Oslo Clearing.

SIX CEO Jos Dijsselhof gave no hint about the departure during an interview published on Sunday by NZZamSonntag. The digital asset exchange was initially slated to launch in the first half of 2019. It was delayed to the second half, and more recently trading has been pushed to 2020. The Corda-based technology is ready, and the hold up is about deciding which digital assets to launch first, and Swiss legislation changes.

Whether or not to separate the companies is an interesting issue. We’ve spoken to some founders who left relatively young, apparently innovative companies to create new entities. They believed to create something disruptive, you have to have a clean sheet.

On the flip side, in a highly regulated market, one can imagine it must be easier to extend licenses rather than apply for new ones.