Bitcoin “maximalist” Michael Saylor announced on August 2 that he will be stepping down as CEO of MicroStrategy, the business intelligence company he co-founded over 30 years ago. Saylor will assume the new role of executive chairman… but remain chairman of the board of directors and an executive officer at MicroStrategy.
As the owner of 129,699 bitcoins, MicroStrategy is one of the largest cryptocurrency holders in the U.S. Saylor began buying Bitcoin (and holding it on MicroStrategy’s balance sheet) in August 2020.
MicroStrategy’s Bitcoin holdings are down about 50% below the company’s cost basis, resulting in an unrealized loss of around $2 billion as of its latest earnings release on August 2.
Saylor looked like a genius when Bitcoin was soaring in 2021. But he’s vulnerable to criticism now that the price has dropped from around $70,000 last November to around $23,000 today.
MicroStrategy’s shift in leadership is getting a lot of media attention because Saylor has become a prominent Bitcoin advocate… But it doesn’t mean the company no longer plans to buy and hold Bitcoin. Not by a long shot.
The company said it will separate the positions of CEO and chairman of the board of directors in order to pursue its two corporate strategies:
- Buying and holding Bitcoin. Saylor will focus completely on this business, including convincing other companies to follow in MicroStrategy’s footsteps.
- Growing the company’s enterprise analytics software business (MicroStrategy’s sole focus before Saylor began buying Bitcoin). This area will be handled by the new CEO, Phong Le.