Luno Exchange Faces Executive Exodus Amid Financial Struggles

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Luno, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange owned by Digital Currency Group (DCG), is facing yet another high-level departure following a series of layoffs and financial challenges. Vijay Ayyar, an early member of the Luno team and Vice President of Corporate Development and International, is parting ways with the company after seven years. While the specific details of his departure remain undisclosed, it comes amidst an atmosphere of staff cuts and financial turmoil for the exchange.

Ayyar’s Impressive Career Trajectory and Contributions to Luno

As indicated on his LinkedIn profile, Vijay Ayyar joined Luno in May 2016, bringing experience from various high-level roles at technology and financial firms. His professional background includes time at venture capital firm Antler, Google, and PricewaterhouseCoopers

As an executive at Luno, Ayyar was stationed in Singapore. He mainly focused on forging global partnerships, expanding the Asia-Pacific team, and steering the company’s growth into numerous markets.

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However, Luno’s trajectory has shifted from expansion to contraction. Ayyar’s exit comes on the heels of the company’s announcement to withdraw from the Singapore market, where he is currently based. Despite the timing, Ayyar refutes any connection between his departure and Luno’s retreat from Singapore, according to a CNBC report from May 2nd.

A spokesperson for Luno confirmed Ayyar’s exit to CNBC, stating that he is leaving to explore new opportunities within the industry. Ayyar’s next professional endeavor remains unknown.

Luno’s Restructuring and Loss of Key Executives

In January, Luno unveiled a comprehensive restructuring plan in response to the market volatility experienced in 2022. As a result, the exchange disclosed plans to lay off 336 employees, representing 35% of its workforce across various jurisdictions.

The company also experienced the loss of its co-founder and CTO, Timothy Stranex, in December, followed by the departure of CEO Marcus Swanepoel in March.

Luno Future Remains Uncertain

The impact of Ayyar’s departure on Luno remains uncertain, particularly as the exchange grapples with obstacles in the cryptocurrency market. 

Former CEO Swanepoel was open about the company’s struggles earlier this year, stating, “2022 has been an incredibly tough year for the broader tech industry and, in particular, the crypto market. Luno, unfortunately, hasn’t been immune to this turbulence, which has affected our overall growth and revenue numbers.”

Parent company DCG, which also owns Genesis and CoinDesk, has been severely affected by the events of 2022. The firm reported a staggering loss of $1.1 billion for the financial year, with cash and cash equivalents amounting to $262 million as of December 31, 2022.

The crypto market crash and the subsequent collapse of Three Arrows Capital’s crypto hedge fund, which defaulted on a loan to Genesis (DCG’s lending platform), have contributed to DCG’s financial woes. The challenges for DCG continue, as the company may default on a $630 million loan owed to Genesis, with repayment due this month.

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