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MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor Is Stepping Down

Michael Saylor co-founded the company in 1989.

It's putting it mildly to say bitcoin, not to mention the crypto landscape on the whole, has had a very rough year.

After a crash in June that saw bitcoin drop to an all-time low of $20,000 (the all-time high was $69,044.77 in November 2021), big crypto investors started to pull out, including Meta's META Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla  (TSLA)  CEO Elon Musk.

Prominent crypto lenders crumbled in the dip, such as Celsius Network, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 13, and Voyager Digital, which did the same on July 6.

Other big crypto believers were hit hard as well. One of them, billionaire and CEO of MicroStrategy  (MSTR)  Michael Saylor, has long been an evangelist in the space, often taking to Twitter to share his beliefs with his 2.6 million followers and wax philosophical about the future of digital currency.    

But Saylor's faith in the power of bitcoin turned on him when he lost $1.2 billion in the crash, and now, after 33 years serving as the CEO of MicroStrategy, he is stepping down from his position.

Michael Saylor

Saylor Taking On a New Role for MicroStrategy

In a press release issued on Aug. 2, MicroStrategy announced that Saylor would be stepping down from his position, which will be taken over by company president Phong Le as of Aug. 8.

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Le has served as president since July 2020 and has been with MicroStrategy since 2015 in past executive roles such as chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Saylor will remain a part of the company, however. His new title will be executive chairman, and he will retain his position as chairman of the board of directors, as well as remaining an executive officer for the company.

“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,” said Mr. Saylor.

The King of Bitcoin, Stepping Aside?

While Saylor has a lot of fans on Twitter, the platform he is most vocal on, he also has a lot of followers who take one look at his stance on bitcoin and dismiss him as crazy.

Some of the latter took advantage of the announcement by poking fun at Saylor.

Saylor, in the meantime, acted as if nothing was wrong, tweeting more or less the same way he usually does.

TheStreet's Luc Olinga predicted that Saylor's confidence in bitcoin would push him to face a reckoning, especially in light of his seemingly unwavering support of the digital currency in the past. 

MicroStrategy's shares have taken a nosedive ever since the beginning of the crypto winter, falling 51% since the beginning of 2022.