Prior to his role at FTX US, Harrison worked with SBF at Jane Street and before joining FTX, he worked for Citadel Securities. In the Twitter feed, the former president of the US 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.“
Deteriorating relations between Brett Harrison and FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried lead to resignation.
January 14, 2023, Brett Harrisonthe former president of FTX US shared his personal account of his experience working at FTX US, the US-based crypto exchange, for seventeen months. Harrison described his days at the US exchange in a 49-part Twitter feed that goes into great detail. Harrison was initially enthusiastic about joining 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 after I joined the company, pronounced cracks began to form in my own relationship with Sam“said Brett Harrison. Around that time, I began to advocate strongly for a separation and independence between the executive, legal and development teams at FTX US, and Sam disagreed.
Despite immense pressure, Brett Harrison persisted in his disagreement with the FTX CEO, whose grip on the various industries was both pervasive and inflexible. Harrison said others at FTX US shared his disagreement with the CEO and his inner circle, noting that they were a team of seasoned professionals from reputable firms in the U.S. financial, legal, and regulated exchange fields.
“Our collective experience and professional insight were often treated as irrelevant and worthless. This was extremely frustrating for all of us“, Harrison insisted. Harrison added:
Sam was not comfortable with conflict. He reacted sometimes with unhinged hostility, sometimes with manipulation and gaslighting, but he ultimately chose to isolate me from communication on key decisions.
Harrison resigned from FTX on September 27, 2022, after attempting to resolve the company’s organizational problems.
Ultimately, Harrison decided to leave the company and start his own company because he felt that the “dream job” of working at FTX US was not worth it due to the deteriorating relationship with SBF. According to Harrison, SBF’s behavior and decisions were influenced by his insecurity and volatile temperament.
In early April 2022, Harrison made one last attempt to address FTX US’s organizational problems by filing a formal complaint. In response, he was threatened with dismissal and the destruction of his professional reputation by Bankman-Fried if he did not withdraw his complaint and apologize. This event reinforced Harrison’s decision to leave the company. He wants to ensure that the company is well positioned for success after he leaves, so he leaves in an orderly fashion.
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.
So I phased out of the business, finished building and launching the U.S. stock brokerage, and walked FTX US employees through their mid-year reviews,” Harrison said. I never would have guessed that a multi-billion dollar fraud was underlying these kinds of problems…that I had seen in other more mature companies during my career and didn’t think would be fatal to the company’s success…,” Harrison noted.
Brett Harrison added that he received apologies from many people who knew that he was not involved in the criminal system. He has learned a lot about the industry over the past few months, some people have treated him differently, while others have offered him sympathy and support. He also mentions that it will be difficult to forget the frenzied and unfounded accusations made against him on social media.
When Brett Harrison left FTX US last year, SBF told Bloomberg that the executive’s departure had been in the works since “a little while“. The media outlet also asked SBF about his own succession plans, and the FTX CEO said at the time that he had no intention of leaving FTX and that he would be there “long term“.