Executives from legacy banks are leaving key roles in innovative units to take up positions in digital asset firms.
The most recent departure is the director of the blockchain and digital assets at Citi Ventures, Alexandre Kech. Kech is leaving the US bank for a role at Six Digital Exchange.
Six Digital Exchange is a Swiss digital assets exchange that offers trading, settlement, and custody of crypto assets.
Kech took to Twitter to announce his departure from Citi earlier this week, saying he was starting a “new exciting challenge in November.”
He later took to LinkedIn to announce his exit from Citigroup, saying, “This week is my last at #Citiventures, more than a year after launching the Blockchain & Digital Asset Studio practice. This may seem like a short tenure, and it is. But sometimes, an exceptional opportunity comes along,” he wrote. A representative from six later confirmed his hiring.
Executives Drop TradFi for Digital Asset Firms
Kech will follow Citigroup’s head of foreign exchange Itay Tuchman, who departed from the bank in August for a digital-asset firm. Tuchman was key to the bank’s exploration of digital assets in recent years.
The two departures reflect a trend of banking executives moving into the crypto world. In June 2022, three JPMorgan (JPM) executives departed to join crypto firms.
The following month, Galaxy Digital appointed former Credit Suisse (CS) managing director Danielle Johnson to oversee sales and product strategy for institutional investors.
Others that have moved from TradeFi to the crypto space include Usman Naeem, former managing director in the equity derivatives division at Goldman Sachs.
According to reports in April, at least 15 top-flight Citi employees have left traditional finance for digital asset-focused destinations in the past years. These include top jobs at Copper, Paxos, Genesis, and the Provenance Blockchain Foundation.
Last week, digital asset custodian, Koinamu, appointed Nicolas Bertrand as the new CEO of the Italian Stock Exchange.
In August, South Korea’s former first vice minister of economy and finance, Yong-beom Kim, became CEO of Hashed Open Research (HOR).
In March, former senior executives from financial service company Jefferies left to co-found Crossover Markets, a digital asset company for institutional clients.
Moonpay also hired two C-level executives with a background inTradFi in its hiring spree in July.
A Look At Alexandre Kech
Kech spent a year at Citi Venture, Citigroup’s venture arm, and has 25 years of experience in traditional and open finance. He spent most of his 17-year tenure at SWIFT, a global financial services giant. Kech took on various expert and leadership roles in the Standards department at SWIFT. He managed ISO 15022, ISO 20022, and associated market practices.
At Citigroup, he was General Secretary of the Securities Market Practice Group, a group of custodians, banks, central banks, and central securities depositories developing market practices.
Kech served as head of securities and FX markets and director of standards in the Asia Pacific from 2012-2018.
Before joining SWIFT, he was an operations executive, team lead, and business analyst at BNY Mellon.