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Former Nike CIO Anthony Watson is the New CEO of Bitreserve

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by Tatsiana Yablonskaya · 4 min read
Former Nike CIO Anthony Watson is the New CEO of Bitreserve
Anthony Watson in Beaverton, Ore. Photo: Nike

Anthony Watson left Nike in December last year, then in April he joined Bitcoin startup Bitreserve as president and chief operating officer and now, not quite three months into his time there, he has a new title: CEO.

It has been well said that a talented person is talented in everything and no matter what sphere he chooses, the success won’t take long. This is all about Anthony Watson who has recently given up a brilliant career only to start another one.

Anthony used to take the post of Nike’s CIO. Nike is one of the largest international manufacturers of sports apparel. The opportunities for career were great. No wonder that it was a shock when six months ago the reports announced Anthony stepping out. At that time he indicated personal grounds as a reason for resignation.

It turned out later that he wasn’t really satisfied with office location. As you know Nike is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. Mr. Watson admitted that living in Portland was a real ordeal for him. He felt like he was always experiencing a “cultural shock” there.

It’s hard to say whether changing of place of residence was a primary reason for departure. Watson looked forward to returning to the banking world. He strived to change what he saw as an unjust financial system.

The information about appointing Anthony Watson to the position of Bitreserve’s CEO first appeared in April 2015. Halsey Minor, the company’s founder, published a confirmation in the recent blog post on June 22, 2015. He underlined that management of Bitreserve is really impressed by Anthony’s working abilities.

His joining the team is already seen as a great victory: “Both the Board of Directors and I have such tremendous confidence in Anthony’s abilities to execute on Bitreserve’s vision and mission to transform the world of finance that we are pleased to announce that Anthony, in addition to his serving as a Member of our Board of Directors and his role as President of the company, is being promoted to the role of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Anthony will report directly to our Board of Directors.”

At Bitreserve Anthony has all chances to apply his experience and talent. He made no secret that he had got offers from several large banks (indeed he had worked at Citi, Wells Fargo and Barclays before Nike). But this time he chose the sphere of digital currencies. “I was itching to make an impact,” he admits. It’s interesting that interview with Halsey Minor took only 10 minutes. Watson made his decision almost immediately.

By the way, Mr. Minor mentioned in his post that he is not going to leave the company: “It’s time right now for me to take on two much larger roles within the company, roles that allow me to focus on the areas where I can be the most effective and add the most value. As such, effective immediately I am assuming the dual roles of Chairman and Chief Visionary. These new roles will allow me to devolve the day-to-day operational leadership and management responsibilities of the company to Anthony so I can fully concentrate on our long-term vision, product innovation and roadmaps.”

“In addition, I will also focus my attention to how our technology is addressing underserved communities around the globe. Addressing the unfairness of the legacy financial system was a core motivation for starting Bitreserve, and focusing on this in a meaningful way is both a great responsibility and tremendous privilege,” he added.

Watson isn’t a novice in digital currency sphere. He used to invest in bitcoin which he said “did well”. He emphasizes the importance of the technology underlying bitcoin and hopes that with his help “the world will embrace the uses of the blockchain”.

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