- Sam Bankman-Fried was spiteful, insecure, and unable to deal with conflict, according to the former head of FTX US.
- Brett Harrison said that he had flagged his concerns about FTX to the disgraced former crypto billionaire.
- Bankman-Fried “responded at times with gaslighting and manipulation,” Harrison added.
Sam Bankman-Fried was a spiteful and insecure manager who reacted badly to any conflict or criticism, according to a former top executive for FTX’s US-based operation.
Brett Harrison, who was the president of FTX US between May 2021 and September 2022, slammed the disgraced former crypto billionaire in a series of tweets Saturday.
Harrison said that his relationship with Bankman-Fried had started to sour after around six months – when he called for greater separation between FTX US and its Bahamas-based parent company.
“I began advocating strongly for establishing separation and independence for the executive, legal, and developer teams of FTX US, and Sam disagreed,” he said. “I saw in that early conflict his total insecurity and intransigence when his decisions were questioned, his spitefulness, and the volatility of his temperament.”
“I realized he wasn’t who I remembered,” Harrison added, referencing a previous stint working with Bankman-Fried at the quantitative trading firm Jane Street.
Bankman-Fried had been called “the next Warren Buffett” by Fortune magazine and courted high-profile investors like VC firm Sequoia Capital and NFL star Tom Brady – and that made him difficult to challenge, according to Harrison.
“There was tremendous pressure not to disagree with Sam, but I did so anyway,” he said. “At that time, and for all of my time at FTX US, his influence over the media, FTX’s partners, the venture capital industry, and the traditional finance industry was pervasive and unyielding.”
Harrison said that he flagged further concerns about FTX’s hiring policy, its lack of experienced managers in C-suite positions, and the software development roles held by Gary Wang and Nishad Singh – who’ve since been identified as key members of Bankman-Fried’s “inner circle”.
But Bankman-Fried was unable to deal with conflict and responded to the criticism by “gaslighting” Harrison, the former FTX US executive said.
“Sam was uncomfortable with conflict,” Harrison tweeted. “He responded at times with dysregulated hostility, at times with gaslighting and manipulation, but ultimately chose to isolate me from communication on key decision-making.”
Harrison added that when he first recorded his concerns in writing in April 2021, Bankman-Fried’s allies at FTX said they would wreck his professional reputation unless he apologized and withdrew his complaint.
“I made a written formal complaint about what I saw to be the largest organizational problems inhibiting FTX’s future success. I wrote that I would resign if the problems weren’t addressed,” he said.
“In response, I was threatened on Sam’s behalf that I would be fired and that Sam would destroy my professional reputation,” Harrison added. “I was instructed to formally retract what I’d written and to deliver an apology to Sam that had been drafted for me.”
Harrison resigned from his role at FTX September – just two months before it filed for bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the US in December. Prosecutors say that FTX’s balance sheet shows he “orchestrated a years-long fraud to conceal from FTX’s investors” that he had funneled customer funds into his crypto trading firm Alameda Research.
There’s no suggestion that Harrison is suspected of any wrongdoing. Neither Bankman-Fried nor Harrison immediately responded to Insider’s requests for comment.