Circle Names Former Homeland Security Official as Chief Legal Officer

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Gus Coldebella, a former acting general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is now the new Chief Legal Officer of trading startup Circle Internet Financial Ltd., the company announced in a blog post on September 6, 2018.

New Addition to the Company

According to a blog post written by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire, founders of tech startup Circle, Coldebella was named the company’s new CLO.

Circle, which was valued at roughly $3 billion during its latest round of funding and was one of the first trading companies to get a Bitlicense, is currently working with officials in multiple countries to legitimize cryptocurrency as both a new asset class for investors and a medium of exchange for everyday consumers.

Coldebella spent four years at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and became its acting General Counsel, overseeing over 1,700 lawyers and dealing with some of the most complex and high-risk legal situations that a country can face.

The company’s founders said that Coldebella would bring decades of experience in litigation, government regulation and enforcement, corporate governance, as well as some of the most complex technology-driven risk issues facing major global corporations today.

According to Coldebella’s LinkedIn page, he spent more than a decade at the Boston office of Goodwin Procter before joining the Department of Homeland Security in 2005, serving as acting general counsel from 2007 to 2009. Speaking of his qualities, Circle’s post stated that:

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“Gus’s leadership will be critical in our mission to work with legislators and regulators around the world to promote smart legal frameworks that encourage growth of the Internet of Value, all while we also work tirelessly with government partners to thwart those bad actors who seek to abuse the freedoms created by technical innovation or undermine confidence in our financial system.”

One of Many High-Level Hires

Coldebella’s new appointment follows about half a dozen recent high-level hires onto Circle’s legal and compliance team, the company said.

Robert Bench, former compliance leader from Santander, PwC and the U.S. Treasury OCC, now serves as Circle’s Chief Compliance officer, while their Senior Regulatory Counsel, Carla Carriveau, is an 18-year veteran of the SEC and FINRA.

Other high-level hires include former corporate, securities and commodities lawyer from Citigroup, a former CCO at Credit Suisse and MD at Goldman Sachs, as well as a former compliance officer at ICE and PaySafe.

Circle’s employee revamp comes at an exciting time for the company. Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire, who previously founded video management software firm Brightcove Inc., told Bloomberg in June that Circle plans to pursue a federal banking license and registration as a securities brokerage.

However, as the value of all cryptocurrencies has dropped by more than 75 percent since the beginning of the year, it is yet to be seen how those conditions have affected Circle’s business.