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Former FTX US Executive claims SBF was insecure, spiteful, and volatile

In a recent lengthy Twitter thread, Former FTX US president Brett Harrison made claims that FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was extremely difficult to work with. He says the CEO made extreme attempts at gaslighting and manipulation, which ultimately helped contribute to Harrisons' departure from the firm in September 2022, two months before SBF was indicted for fraud and his empire collapsed.

Despite Harrisons' role in being the ‘President’ of the firm, he says SBF took full control of the company and made all critical decisions. Once Harrison realized the potential danger and risk from SBF’s spontaneous and impactful business decisions, he knew something had to be done.

Harrison then began pushing the company to “establish separation and independence” for the executive, legal, and developer teams of FTX US, but SBF disagreed. Harrison wrote:

“I saw in that early conflict his [SBF’s] total insecurity and intransigence when his decisions were questioned, his spitefulness, and the volatility of his temperament. I realized he wasn’t who I remembered.”

At the time, SBF’s influence over FTX partners, the media, venture capital firms, and the traditional financial industry was “pervasive and unyielding,” Harrison wrote. Moreover, SBF was a prominent political donator to the Democrats and dined with the who’s who of Washington. Detailing his dilemma, Harison added:

“Standing up to an insecure, prideful manager is hard under any circumstance. But it’s nearly impossible when every day, every major voice of culture and commerce deafens you with a narrative that implies if you disagree with your manager *you* clearly must be wrong.”

Despite the tremendous pressure Harrison faced with disagreeing with SBF, he continued to stand up for himself. This resulted in him, and others in the company, being treated as “irrelevant and valueless,” which made for an extremely toxic workplace.

These disagreements elicited an unpalatable response from SBF:

“Sam was uncomfortable with conflict. He responded at times with dysregulated hostility, at times with gaslighting and manipulation, but ultimately chose to isolate me from communication on key decision-making.”

Upon leaving the firm, Harrison became fearful that his reputation would be ruined by SBF, who was angry amid his departure. Once the revelations of fraud became public a few months later, Harrison said it was something he didn’t see coming, and assumed the management issues had just been typical in growing startups.

“I never could have guessed that underlying these kinds of issues — which I’d seen at other more mature firms in my career and believed not to be fatal to business success — was multi-billion-dollar fraud.”

Harrison claimed that the other executives outside of SBF’s inner circle would have immediately reported any suspicions of fraudulent activity to authorities, however, SBF was good at covering things up, even internally.