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Bitcoin advocate Michael Saylor steps down as MicroStrategy CEO

Michael Saylor, one of the most prominent bitcoin proponents in corporate America, announced Tuesday that he would be stepping down as chief executive (CEO) of business intelligence firm MicroStrategy. Effective August 8, 2022, Michael Saylor will assume the new role of executive chairman, and company president Phong Le will serve as the new chief executive officer and member of the board of directors.

Michael Saylor founded the company in 1989 as a software developer, but in recent years has begun buying billions of dollars in bitcoin with MicroStrategy funds.

Saylor said in a statement: “I believe that separating the roles of chairman and CEO will allow us to better execute on two corporate strategies, namely 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 outreach initiatives, while Phong will be empowered as CEO to manage overall company operations.”

Le has been president of MicroStrategy since July 2020, and has held various other senior management positions since joining the company in 2015, including chief financial officer and chief operating officer.

Saylor stepped down as CEO at a time when his bitcoin bet resulted in significant losses for the company. In its second-quarter earnings report on Tuesday, MicroStrategy posted a $917.8 million charge for bitcoin impairments, reflecting the sharp drop in bitcoin’s price during the quarter.

According to the company’s financial report, as of June 30, 2022, the book value of MicroStrategy’s digital assets, including approximately 129,699 BTC, was $1.988 billion, reflecting a cumulative impairment loss of $1.989 billion since the acquisition, an average of each Bitcoin’s book value is around $15,326. As of June 30, 2022, the original cost and market cap of MicroStrategy Bitcoin were $3.977 billion and $2.451 billion, respectively, reflecting an average cost per Bitcoin of approximately $30,664.

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