Michael Saylor Stepping Down as MicroStrategy CEO... Kind Of
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Michael Saylor Stepping Down as MicroStrategy CEO... Kind Of

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3 months ago

The Bitcoin evangelist will become executive chairman of the company effective next Monday — a newly created role.

Michael Saylor Stepping Down as MicroStrategy CEO... Kind Of

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Michael Saylor is no longer going to be the CEO of MicroStrategy as the business intelligence firm undergoes a radical shakeup.

The Bitcoin evangelist will become executive chairman of the company effective next Monday — a newly created role.

Saylor has served as CEO since 1989, and he'll be replaced in this position by Phong Le, who is currently MicroStrategy's president.

Explaining the rationale behind the changes, MicroStrategy said Saylor "will focus primarily on innovation and long-term corporate strategy, while continuing to provide oversight of the company's Bitcoin acquisition strategy as head of the board's investment committee."

MicroStrategy first invested in Bitcoin two years ago — and in recent years, it's fair to say that Saylor's been more focused on championing crypto than his own company's products. In a statement, he added:

"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."

The move could be interpreted as a vote of confidence in MicroStrategy's aggressive strategy to acquire as much Bitcoin as possible — despite the fact that the value of the 130,000 BTC it holds in reserve has fallen by about $5 billion in eight months.

In an earnings call with investors on Tuesday night, Saylor declared that MicroStrategy has undergone a "paradigm shift," adding:

"We no longer view Bitcoin acquisition as opportunistic. It is simply our second corporate strategy. Our future now depends on how we manage and develop our intellectual property, that is software, as well as how we manage and develop our digital property that is Bitcoin."

Saylor noted that it's been two years since MicroStrategy first acquired Bitcoin — and said over that time, MSTR stock has outperformed the rest of the market.

"When we looked back at where did MicroStrategy close the day before, it's up 123% since we embarked on that strategy. Where has Bitcoin gone? Bitcoin is up 94% since we announced our Bitcoin strategy… From a standing start, the S&P index is up 23% in that same timeframe. NASDAQ is up 13%. So as you can see, we've outperformed by a factor of 10 NASDAQ stocks in general. We've outperformed the entire S&P by a factor of five."

The new executive chairman also revealed that MicroStrategy had been considering choosing gold to hold on its balance sheet, but that has fallen by 13% over that same two-year timeframe.

Reflecting on the recent drama that has engulfed the industry, Saylor said:

"The current wave of crypto rationalization, regulation and innovation is healthy for this industry over the mid and long timeframe. And we expect Bitcoin will be the prime beneficiary of all these trends. The demise of Celsius, Voyager and Three Arrows has removed unhealthy business practices and dangerous leverage from the system, educating millions of market participants on the merits of holding an asset like Bitcoin without counterparty risk and taking self-custody or placing that asset in cold storage."

It was also especially intriguing to see Saylor say MicroStrategy intends "to take advantage of our leadership in the Bitcoin industry when the time is right."

The businessman said he "will continue to act as an enthusiastic spokesperson for MicroStrategy and as our envoy to the global Bitcoin community."

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