Brett Harrison, the former president of FTX US, has opened up about his time at the company. He offered details about his relationship with disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
In a 49-tweet thread published on Saturday, Harrison said that he was unaware of any fraud happening at FTX and that working at the exchange seemed like a “dream job” initially.
However, after some time at the company, Harrison said he started feeling that decisions impacting the U.S. branch of the exchange would come “without warning from the Bahamas.”
The Bahamas is where FTX International, the main company of FTX Group, was headquartered. SBF, its CEO, lived there for most of FTX’s existence.
“Six months into my time at the company, pronounced cracks began to form in my own relationship with Sam. Around then I began advocating strongly for establishing separation and independence for the executive, legal, and developer teams of FTX US, and Sam disagreed,” Harrison said.
Bankman-Fried’s Inadequate Response to Criticism
Harrison said that he saw SBF’s “total insecurity and intransigence” when his decisions were questioned, as well as his “spitefulness” and the “volatility of his temperament.” SBF would sometimes respond with “dysregulated hostility,” “gaslighting,” and manipulation.”
“Standing up to an insecure, prideful manager is hard under any circumstance. But it’s nearly impossible when every day, every major voice of culture and commerce deafens you with a narrative that implies if you disagree with your manager you clearly must be wrong,” he said.
Eventually, Harrison got isolated from any decision-making at the company. ‘It felt terrible. I sought out information about decisions that had been made behind my back, desperate but trying hard not to show it,” he said.
Harrison and SBF’s conflict reached a breaking point when he made a written formal complaint about the “largest organizational problems inhibiting FTX’s future success.” In the letter, he said he would resign if the problems weren’t addressed properly.
In response, Harrison said he received a threat on SBF’s behalf that he would be fired and his professional reputation would be “destroyed” if he didn’t “formally retract” what he had written and deliver an already drafted apology to Sam. Harrison left the company on September 27, 2022.
FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on November 12, 2022. Bankman-Fried was charged with eight criminal counts, including money laundering and wire fraud.
Brett Harrison was one of the key FTX people who hadn’t spoken about their time at the company. His depiction aligns with reports of power abuse and chaotic management.