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IOTA Foundation parts ways with co-founder David Sønstebø

The IOTA Foundation has parted ways with David Sønstebø, one of the three remaining co-founders of the project.
The reason given for the separation from Sønstebø was “significantly diverging interests”.

In a decision that may come as a surprise to most people, the IOTA Foundation yesterday parted ways with another co-founder, David Sønstebø. As stated in the official announcement, the Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board have decided to do so. The decision of the Supervisory Board was unanimous, and it was “in the best interest of the IOTA ecosystem”.

The IOTA Foundation is keeping silent about the exact reasons for David Sønstebø’s decision. However, in an addendum to the originally very short statement, the Foundation states that the “decision was difficult, but had to be made”. The IOTA Foundation provides the following explanation as a justification:

There were several instances where David’s actions were not aligned with what the Foundation stands for and who we aspire to be. We respect David’s privacy and the finer details are not important. We are thankful to David for founding the project and showing true leadership with his vision, entrepreneurial spirit and perseverance.

As can be seen from these lines, the separation from Sønstebø does not seem to have been an easy one. Sønstebø, as one of 4 co-founders, was instrumental in establishing the project and helped to build the initial team, vision and ecosystem. However, “it has become clear that David’s interests and the interests of the IOTA Foundation have diverged significantly”, the statement continues.

The statements of the other two co-founders

At the same time, the two remaining co-founders, Serguei Popov and Dominik Schiener, pointed out that the decision changes absolutely nothing about the “execution or promise” of IOTA and the strategy regarding Chrysalis and Coordicide. Dominik Schiener paid tribute to Sønstebø’s work via Discord, but also made clear the apparently different interests:

I understand that everyone really wants to know why this happened, and you might ask for transparency. But quite frankly, I don’t think that it truly matters to anyone here and we do not want to tarnish David’s reputation or leak internal information. […] He will forever be one of the Founders of the project and we appreciate what he has done for the organization. I am sure he will have more successes with his Startups and this also gives him the ability to finally focus on that.

Serguei Popov expressed his understanding for the “why” questions, and commented on the separation from Sønstebø:

Just some points from my side. It’s quite understandable that people want to know all the details. But, please consider the following:

1. The decision was actually taken by the Supervisory Board, on a separate call with David. Both members of the SVB, Richard Soley and Clint Walker, are very experienced and senior people. They are certainly able to judge for themselves when a decision like that is justified or not. And, they have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the IF.

2. As stated before, all this didn’t come lightly to all the involved parties. Please, try to imagine yourself in the middle of something like that, and think if you would want a separate public laundry washing session on top of all this.

3. Last but not least, the Coordicide is going well.


 

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