Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency taps ex-HSBC exec as CFO of payments unit

FILE PHOTO: Libra logo in illustration picture
FILE PHOTO: Representations of virtual currency are displayed in front of the Libra logo in this illustration picture, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

October 15, 2020

By Tom Wilson

LONDON (Reuters) – Another former HSBC executive is heading to the Facebook-backed <FB.O> Libra cryptocurrency project, joining as chief financial officer of a unit tasked with managing the planned digital currency’s payments system.

The Geneva-based Libra Association, which plans to issue and govern the Libra cryptocurrency, said in a statement it has appointed Ian Jenkins as CFO and chief risk officer of Libra Networks.

Jenkins is HSBC’s former business finance head and group general manager, the association said. He has also previously worked at Credit Suisse and Santander.

Financial leaders of the world’s seven biggest economies said on Tuesday that no stablecoin – a type of cryptocurrency, such as Libra, that is often backed by traditional assets – should begin operation until it was properly regulated.

The Libra project, unveiled by Facebook last year, was relaunched in slimmed-down form in April after regulators and central banks across the world raised concerns it could upset financial stability and erode mainstream power over money.

Libra is now seeking to issue a series of stablecoins backed by individual traditional currencies. It has hired a number of senior executives since applying for a Swiss payments license in April, many of them are specialised in financial compliance and with ties to U.S. government and authorities.

In September the project appointed former HSBC European head James Emmett to lead Libra Networks. It also tapped HSBC’s former chief legal officer Stuart Levey – formerly a U.S. Treasury official during the Bush and Obama administrations – to head the association itself.

(Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe and Frances Kerry)