Circle Internet Financial has announced the appointment of Heath Tarbert as its chief legal officer and head of corporate affairs. Tarbert, a veteran of Big Law and the federal government, joins Circle as the company faces increased scrutiny amid enforcement actions against major exchanges like Binance and Coinbase.
Tarbert’s new employer is a stablecoin issuer that creates and manages USD Coin (USDC), a popular currency pegged to the US dollar. Circle is bringing in the big guns for a potential fight with regulators, according to a statement released on Thursday. Tarbert will join the issuer as chief legal officer and head of corporate affairs effective July 1, 2023. He will replace Flavia Naves, who was general counsel at Circle.
Circle’s decision appears to be a wise one. Its new hire is not just a former partner at the prominent law firm Allen & Overy. He has a distinguished track record in government and regulatory leadership. Tarbert has held positions in all three branches of the federal government and key regulatory agencies.
Tarbert has served as chairman and CEO of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), vice chairman of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, and assistant secretary of the US Treasury for international markets. He has held various roles within the G-7/G-20, Financial Stability Board, and World Bank Group.
Crypto exchanges and issuers need all the help they can get. Tarbert’s hire comes just as the SEC escalates its crackdown on the crypto industry. This week, the agency filed suits against the world’s two biggest exchanges, Binance and Coinbase.
Both of the SEC’s newest targets deny the allegations against them. They say they will vigorously fight the charges.
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