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MicroStrategy’s Saylor Says Stepping Down as CEO Will Let Him Focus More on Bitcoin

Michael Saylor. Source: A screenshot, ReasonTV / YouTube

The bitcoin (BTC)-keen American software firm MicroStrategy could pivot even further toward BTC – despite the announcement that its co-founder Michael Saylor will step down as CEO on August 8.

In an earnings call, Saylor stated that after stepping aside as CEO to become the firm’s Executive Chairman, his focus would be on the firm’s “corporate strategy and innovation efforts” – and MicroStrategy’s “bitcoin strategy and related bitcoin advocacy and education initiatives.”

He added that he would continue working with the Bitcoin Mining Council and remarked:

“I will continue to act as an enthusiastic spokesperson for MicroStrategy and as our envoy to the global bitcoin community.”

Further, Saylor claimed that the “matter of CEO succession” had been in the pipelines for some time, explaining that the move had been “carefully considered and planned for at the board level for many years.”

The long-serving CEO explained that he “looked forward to leading the organization for the long-term health and growth of our enterprise software” – as well as its “bitcoin acquisition strategies.”

He went to pains to “reiterate” that MicroStrategy’s “strategy” was to “acquire and hold bitcoin long term,” adding that it does “not currently plan to engage in sales of bitcoin.”

Andrew Kang, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, explained that the company’s bitcoin “strategy” remains “simple”: 

“Buy and hold for the long term, and that is it.”

Regardless, many will be concerned by Saylor’s move. The company posted second-quarter losses of around USD 1 billion – with a USD 917.8m impairment charge “related to the decline in the value of the bitcoin it holds,” Bloomberg noted.

The company says it owns “around” BTC 129,699 (USD 2.99bn). And with crypto winter still to subside, the company has faced no shortage of criticism for its aggressive BTC buying strategy.

The same media outlet explained that MicroStrategy shares had fallen some 2.3% in post-market trading, with stock traders apparently unimpressed by the news of the losses.

And with the company’s shares down some 50% this year, the company will be hoping that BTC prices rise sooner rather than later.

MicroStrategy’s current President, Phong Le, will succeed Saylor as CEO on August 8, the company disclosed.

In a press release, the firm explained that Saylor “will remain the Chairman of the Board of Directors and an executive officer of the company.”

Saylor was further quoted as stating:

“I believe that splitting the roles of Chairman and CEO will enable us to better pursue our two corporate strategies of acquiring and holding bitcoin and growing our enterprise analytics software business. As Executive Chairman I will be able to focus more on our bitcoin acquisition strategy and related bitcoin advocacy initiatives, while Phong will be empowered as CEO to manage overall corporate operations.”

In its Q2 report, the company put its BTC-related activities on the same pedestal as its core business analytics operations in a section named “Corporate Strategies.”

Here, the company explained, again, that it intended to “acquire and hold bitcoin long-term” and “purchase bitcoin through [the] use of excess cash flows and debt and equity transactions.”

It added that the “aggregate cost basis” of its BTC holdings was USD 4 billion.

At 8:04 UTC on Wednesday, BTC is trading at USD 23,045, up 0.5% in a day and 8.5% in a week.

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