CoinDesk CEO and top execs depart after Bullish buyout

Kevin Worth, the long-serving CEO of CoinDesk, is stepping down as part of a major restructuring by the media, events, and information company’s new owner.

Sara Stratoberdha, previously in charge of business development for cryptocurrency exchange Bullish, will take over the leadership role at CoinDesk.

The restructuring impacts several key positions within CoinDesk. Departures include Elinor Hirschhorn, the Chief Operating Officer and President of Media; John DeGuenther, Vice President of Engineering; and Emily Parker, Executive Director of Global Strategy. Additionally, Michael Casey, Chief Content Officer, will no longer hold a full-time position, though discussions are underway for his continued involvement with CoinDesk in a different capacity.

Bullish CEO Tom Farley announced the organizational changes in a memo to CoinDesk and Bullish employees. He outlined plans for a flatter organizational structure and integration of certain CoinDesk functions, such as Human Resources, with their Bullish counterparts. The tech and product teams of CoinDesk are also set to be integrated with those at Bullish.

The management reshuffle comes two months after Bullish acquired CoinDesk from its previous owner, Digital Currency Group, which faces its own set of challenges. CoinDesk, under Bullish’s ownership, will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary and “Sara is committed to maintaining CoinDesk’s journalistic independence and integrity,” a CoinDesk spokesperson said.

“Kevin and the leadership team oversaw the evolution of CoinDesk into a leading global media company, effected the sale to Bullish, and successfully integrated the two companies. We thank them and wish them well,” Bullish CEO Tom Farley said in a statement.

CoinDesk, which launched in 2013, was acquired by Barry Silbert in 2016 for $500,000. Its parent Digital Currency Group, the struggling crypto empire whose lending unit filed for bankruptcy, reported a $1.1 billion loss for the 2022 financial year.

In 2023, CoinDesk was the subject of a failed acquisition bid by a consortium led by investor Matthew Roszak, which valued the company at $125 million.

The takeover, completed as an all-cash transaction, saw Bullish taking 100% ownership of CoinDesk, though the specifics of the financial arrangement were undisclosed.

This acquisition came at a time when CoinDesk’s ex-parent company, Digital Currency Group, grapples with financial challenges intensified by the broader industry’s downturn, often referred to as the ‘crypto winter.’ Despite the sector’s struggles, CoinDesk is reportedly generating $50 million in annual revenue.

The initial deal ensured that the current editorial team at CoinDesk will continue their roles. However, Matt Murray, the former Editor-in-Chief of The Wall Street Journal, chaired an independent editorial committee. Murray has a wealth of experience, having led The Wall Street Journal’s 1,300-person newsroom and serving in senior roles over a 15-year period.