As Saylor explained in an interview with Yahoo Finance Live published on August 3, the job of a Chief Executive Officer “is primarily to run a software business.” According to him, the plan to make Phong Le the CEO was hatched as the company grew to 2,200 employees and thousands of customers:
“We’ve been working on a succession plan with him for about four years, making him first the Chief Operating Officer and then President about two years ago.”
Need for a full-time CFO as company grows
As Saylor stressed, during the time when Phong was serving as the company’s President as well as its CFO, MicroStrategy “entered into a Bitcoin strategy, our balance sheet swelled by billions and billions of dollars and we decided that the best thing for the business is to bring in a full-time CFO,” Andrew Kang, who was appointed in May 2022.
Furthermore, the now-former MicroStrategy CEO said that this was the catalyst that allowed the company “to elevate Phong to be President and CEO and I have been wanting to assume the role of Executive Chairman – so this is my decision many years in the making.”
Describing his future role as the Executive Chairman, Saylor insisted that he was going to remain involved with the business:
“Many people don’t realize I’m the controlling shareholder of the company so I’m the Chair of the Board. I’ll remain the Chair of the Investments Committee that oversees our Bitcoin acquisition strategy and my primary role will be advocacy education and innovation, working on technology leadership opportunities.
As for Phong Le, he “will run the day-to-day business along with the support of Andrew, our new CFO.”
What’s more, in an interview with Fox Business’s Charles V Payne, Saylor explained that he considered Phong Le “a really great operating executive and expressed his belief that “he’ll be even better as President and CEO.”
It is worth noting that back in January, MicroStrategy’s then-CFO Phong highlighted his company’s strategy to buy and hold Bitcoin despite the market volatility, “so to the extent we have excess cash flows, or we find other ways to raise money, we continue to put it into Bitcoin.”
Criticism over the decision
Meanwhile, ‘The Black Swan’ author Nassim Nicholas Taleb has appeared to mock Saylor by stating that his stepping down was another “nail in the coffin” to the company’s strategy of not selling Bitcoin.
Taleb also suggested that the new management change could represent something more as “you don’t get randomly transferred” in a corporation in the finance industry.