Vanguard, Avowedly Anti-Crypto, Names Bitcoin-Friendly Ex-BlackRock Exec as CEO

On Tuesday evening, Vanguard announced the appointment of Salim Ramji, the former BlackRock executive responsible for overseeing the launch of the firm’s bitcoin exchange-traded fund, as its new CEO. Ramji departed BlackRock in January in pursuit of new leadership opportunities outside the company, following the successful launch of the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), which he managed the filing and logistical aspects of, as noted by Bloomberg Intelligence senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas.

Ramji’s interest in digital assets has been previously mentioned, although it remains uncertain whether this will prompt any changes in Vanguard’s approach. Balchunas expressed optimism about the potential for shifts in Vanguard’s strategy, considering Ramji’s appointment. The news was initially reported by The Wall Street Journal, with Vanguard confirming the appointment later in the evening via a press release.

In his statement, Ramji emphasized his commitment to guiding Vanguard towards future success, particularly amidst evolving investor preferences. He highlighted the importance of adapting to the changing investment landscape while upholding Vanguard’s core mission of ensuring investment success for all clients.

Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, speculated on whether Ramji might advocate for Vanguard investors to access cryptocurrency, similar to his efforts at BlackRock. Ramji’s appointment raised eyebrows due to Vanguard’s historical reluctance towards bitcoin, juxtaposed with his personal interest in the industry. This sparked discussions on social media regarding the potential for Vanguard to alter its stance under Ramji’s leadership.

Ramji’s previous remarks on blockchain and bitcoin underscore his enthusiasm for the technology’s potential to streamline financial systems. Despite Vanguard’s traditional stance, Ramji’s appointment hints at the possibility of a shift towards embracing digital assets within the company’s investment offerings.


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