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ICE Appoints David Clifton as Bakkt’s Interim CEO; Mike Blandina Steps Down

Just five months after becoming the Chief Executive of Bakkt, Mike Blandina is stepping down and leaving the company to pursue newer opportunities, according to a Thursday report.

To replace Blandina, the leading operator of global exchanges and clearinghouses, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), has appointed David Clifton as the Interim CEO of its digital assets trading and payments platform, Bakkt.

The ICE, in December 2019, appointed Mike Blandina as CEO and Adam White as the president of Bakkt. While Blandina is being replaced, White will continue his role in the company. 

Bakkt has focused on building trust in and unlocking the value of digital assets since its launch. The platform launched with ICE Futures U.S in 2019, making it the first fully regulated bitcoin futures and options market.

The launch was later followed by the Bakkt Warehouse, a regulated bitcoin custody offering that allows institutions around the world to safeguard their assets using Bakkt’s enterprise-grade technology and infrastructure. 

Bakkt raises $300 million

Just last month, Bakkt completed its Series B funding round, raising an additional $300 million in capital from a  host of investors and venture firms, including its parent company Intercontinental Exchange, Microsoft’s M12, PayU,  and Boston Consulting Group. 

Clifton, who is currently the ICE’s Vice President, M&A, and Integration, had joined ICE in 2008, when he started serving as Associate General Counsel, M&A. He has played a leading role in the company’s deals, with the 2013 acquisition of NYSE Euronext, inclusively, during his tenure.

In Clifton’s newly appointed role, he will focus on completing the integration of Bridge2 Solutions, which Bakkt acquired earlier this year, while also driving forward Bakkt’s growth initiatives. Clifton had received his J.D. from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law and is a graduate of Davidson College. 

Commenting on the development, Jeffrey Sprecher, the founder, chairman, and CEO of ICE expressed his confidence in the leadership potentials of Clifton. 

David Clifton has been deeply engaged in many of our most important initiatives over the years and, after helping to lead the acquisition of Bridge2 to accelerate the rollout of Bakkt’s consumer application, I know he will provide outstanding leadership for Bakkt as its Interim CEO.

Sprecher went further to show his gratitude to Mike Blandina for his services and attributes towards the company.

“I also want to express our gratitude to Mike Blandina for his work to help grow Bakkt during an important transformational period for the company and wish him all the best in his new endeavor,” he said.


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