Facebook Libra Hires Former HSBC Executive

libra, facebook, cryptocurrency

Libra cryptocurrency project still progressing after it confirms it has hired former HSBC executive as chief financial officer

Facebook is pressing ahead with its controversial Libra digital currency project, despite sustained pressure and pushback from politicians and regulatory bodies globally.

It has been revealed that another former HSBC executive is joining Libra as chief financial officer (CFO).

This is despite it being reported in March this year that Facebook was ‘rethinking’ its plan for Libra, and no longer intended to make the Libra token. The Libra token is the actual blockchain-based cryptocurrency that Facebook is in the process of developing in partnership with the Geneva-based Libra Association.

CFO appointment

Now the Libra Association has announced it has appointed Ian Jenkins as CFO and chief risk officer of Libra Networks.

Jenkins was HSBC’s former business finance head and group general manager, and over three decades has also previously worked at Credit Suisse and Santander.

“I am excited to join the Libra Networks leadership team at a time when innovation in the financial sector has the potential to empower billions of people worldwide,” said Jenkins. “The Libra project is poised to transform the industry and I am looking forward to being part of this team.”

“Ian’s deep expertise in global finance, risk and strategy will be crucial in bringing the Libra vision to life,” said Libra Networks MD James Emmett said. “I look forward to working with Ian as we move forward to a more operational phase of the project.”

The Libra Association has appointed a number of senior executives this year, including Stuart Levey as CEO and Steve Bunnell as Chief Legal Officer.

This followed the appointment of former HSBC European head James Emmett as MD of Libra Networks, as well as Sterling Daines as Chief Compliance Officer.

Global opposition

Facebook had surprised many when it announced Libra in June 2019, and planned to launch it by June 2020.

However it did state that the launch date could be pushed back if necessary while negotiations with regulators continued.

The project was widely criticised by France, the Bank of England, and the US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, as well as others.

The opposition resulted in a number of departures from the Libra Association.

Indeed, five major payments providers have already pulled out of the currency, after Mastercard, Visa and eBay withdrew from the Libra Association in October 2019, as well as fintech start-up Stripe and payments firm Mercado Pago.

That move followed PayPal’s exit from the association, and left the project without the backing of any major payments firms.

Regulatory pushback

Worse was to come in August 2019, when the UK Information Commissioner signed a joint statement alongside her counterparts in the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union, “to express our shared concerns about the privacy risks posed by the Libra digital currency and infrastructure.”

That concern came after the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, in the previous month had said that Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project, “cannot go forward” until serious concerns are addressed.

Facebook in October 2019 said it was open to alternative approaches with Libra, including issuing multiple coins linked to different national currencies.

The opposition however has not stopped Libra progress, even when this week financial leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies said that no stablecoin (a type of cryptocurrency, such as Libra) should begin operation until it was properly regulated.

Facebook even relaunched Libra in slimmed-down form in April and in that same month Libra also applied for a Swiss payments license.