Some attention has turned toward Caroline Ellison over her position as CEO of the FTX-linked quantitative trading firm Alameda Research amid the rapid collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.
After facing liquidity problems, FTX announced last week it had reached a deal with Binance to be acquired, only for Binance to pull out citing red flags during its due diligence process. The cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy along with Alameda Research, West Realm Series and 130 affiliated companies just days later, according to a statement published Nov. 11 on Twitter.
Founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who also started the trading firm Ellison heads up, stepped down as FTX’s CEO, handing the position over to former Enron liquidator John J. Ray III. The Wall Street Journal reported unnamed sources said FTX has allegedly moved customer funds over to Alameda Research for use.
Ellison, a graduate of Stanford University who grew up in Boston, became co-CEOs of Alameda with Sam Trabucco in October 2021, according to a press release put out by the company at the time. In August of this year, Trabucco announced on Twitter he was stepping down from the role but would "stay on as an advisor."
Ellison started at Alameda in 2018, working as a trader. She previously worked at Jane Street – the market maker where she and Bankman-Fried met, according to an Alameda press release.
In 2020, she was featured on an FTX-related podcast, where she discussed her career trajectory and her experiences growing up. She said she competed in math competitions and was "pretty obsessed" with the "Harry Potter" book series as a kid. Her father is an economics professor, she told the podcast host.
Alameda, she also said in the podcast, was "too cool of an opportunity to pass up" after speaking with Bankman-Fried about it. She described dealing with capital as "kind of daunting" when she first started at the trading firm in 2018, according to the podcast.
"Mostly, sort of, it was something I wasn’t used to thinking about," she said. "So it was sort of – I don’t know, I guess I was like a trader for, I mean, not that long at Jane Street but a year and a half, which was kind of more trading experience than a lot of Alameda traders had at the time. I kind of wanted to come in and be like an expert on everything, but there was still lots of stuff in the crypto world that I knew nothing about."
One thing Ellison learned working at Alameda was there are "a bunch of decisions that have to be made, and someone has to make all of them, and a lot of them are really uncertain," she said on the podcast. She said she had "gained a lot of appreciation" for making decisions amid uncertainty.
CoinDesk, citing unnamed sources, reported Ellison and Bankman-Fried formerly dated.
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Bankman-Fried could potentially be extradited to the U.S. for questioning from the Bahamas. Authorities there have already started looking into FTX's collapse.
Leaders of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Thursday announced plans to hold a hearing on the cryptocurrency exchange's collapse, including potential testimony from Bankman-Fried, FTX, Alameda Research and others.
FOX Business reached out to Ellison for comment.