Daniel Haudenschild has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Swisscom Blockchain with immediate effect. The state-owned telecommunications group gave no reason for the shock move by the top manager and shareholder of its blockchain advisory unit.
News of Haudenshild’s departure clearly came out of the blue for the Swiss blockchain sector. One key partner of the Swisscom unit, who did not want to be named, only learned of the decision when swissinfo.ch called for comment.
In an interview with CNN Moneyexternal link on January 14, Haudenschild spoke of the company’s expansion plans, but made no mention of leaving.
swissinfo.ch spoke to Haudenschild a day after this article went online, but he declined to comment on the reasons behind his departure, other than to say that he remained a shareholder in Swisscom Blockchain.
Haudenschild is standing for the presidency of the troubled Crypto Valley Association at its annual general meeting on January 31. He said this was unconnected to the decision to leave Swisscom Blockchain.
He also declined to give details on his future career path other than saying he would remain in the blockchain sector. “It is my fundamental belief that blockchain can fix things that are currently broken, such as financial inclusion and proof of provenance,” he said.
Haudenschild was a key architect in the establishment of Swisscom Blockchainexternal link in the autumn of 2017. The unit was devised to cash in on the rapidly expanding blockchain sector in Switzerland by offering consultancy and technical services for start-ups and existing companies that want to incorporate blockchain into their operations.
Chief Digital Officer Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler will take over as acting CEO, Swisscom said in a statementexternal link. “Daniel Haudenschild and his team laid the foundations for Swisscom Blockchain Ltd. Thanks to his broad understanding of the technology, he made blockchain-based solutions accessible to other companies,” Wüthrich-Hasenböhler is quoted as saying.
In its first 16 months, Swisscom Blockchain has established partnerships with Swiss start-up Daura, a company that is working on a platform to help small companies list digital shares. Another partner, Custodigit offers secure cryptocurrency storage services.
Clients of the blockchain advisory specialist include Falcon private bank, canton Glarus and the Raiffeisen cooperative banking group.
Last month, Swisscom Blockchain teamed up with Swiss Post to build a “private blockchain” distributed ledger platform based on Hyperledger, designed to allow companies to plug in rather than build their own blockchains.