Brian Roberts, OpenSea’s chief financial officer, has left his post after barely 11 months, although he would remain in an advisory capacity with the NFT marketplace.
Brian Roberts, the chief financial officer (CFO) of the world’s largest NFT marketplace OpenSea, has left his post after barely 11 months. The move makes Roberts the latest high-profile Web3 executive to leave their role in the midst of the current bear market.
Before getting appointed as CFO of OpenSea in 2021, Roberts worked for nearly seven years at ride-sharing application startup Lyft. He also previously handled corporate roles at United States retail giant Walmart and giant technology company Microsoft. At OpenSea, one of his core responsibilities was to grow the finance team.
Coming Ashore from OpenSea
Roberts took to LinkedIn to announce his departure from OpenSea, saying it was time for him to “come ashore” from the “open seas.” The now-former OpenSea CFO did not provide details for his departure, although he did say he would remain in an advisory role with the NFT marketplace.
“Well, it is time for me to come ashore from ‘the open seas.’ I am grateful for the opportunity and proud of many accomplishments, but none more than the strength of the finance team at OpenSea,” he said in his official announcement.
Over the last few years, there has been an influx of tech veterans jumping ship to the Web3 space, and Roberts is just one of them. Some other notable names are Google’s former vice president, Surojit Chatterjee, who joined Coinbase as chief product officer in 2020, and Amazon’s Pravjit Tiwana, who joined Gemini in January 2022 as chief technology officer.
In his statement, Roberts disclosed that he has been working closely with Devin Finzer, OpenSea’s CEO, and Justin Jow, vice president of strategic finance, to ensure a “smooth transition.” It could indicate that Jow will step in to take over the executive role that Roberts vacated.
“I had the rare opportunity to build a team literally from the ground up and handpicked game changes. I’ve been working closely with Devin Finzer and supremely capable Justin Jow to ensure a smooth transition,” his statement continued.
Despite Roberts’ departure from his CFO role, he says he remains “incredibly bullish on Web3 and especially on OpenSea.” He says he is confident that “the best is yet to come” for the NFT marketplace.
Bearish Trading Slump Affecting NFT Market
Roberts’ exit from the firm comes at a time when the entire NFT market is bearing the brunt of a bearish trading slump. Moreover, another OpenSea executive announced his departure from the firm on the day Roberts left.
Ryan Foutty, OpenSea’s vice president of business development, announced that he was leaving the company after a year and a half on October 7. According to Foutty, the company had come a long way since its early days working out of its co-founder Alex Atallah’s basement. He wished his “crewmates” well as he bid farewell.
According to data obtained from Dune analytics, there has been a dramatic decline in the NFT market this year compared to last year. From January to September 2022, there was a consistent decrease in overall NFT volume from $17 billion to $466 million.
Dune analyzed data acquired from prominent NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea, Rarible, Foundation, Larvalabs, and NFTX. Still, despite the sluggish momentum of the market, OpenSea was able to stay above aboveground by generating an estimated $144 million in Q3.
In addition, OpenSea has been hard at work in expanding its base. The company recently announced through its official Twitter account that it had incorporated a new feature on its marketplace, allowing users to officially list and purchase in bulk.
However, the company did suffer setbacks, leading to the retrenchment of 20% of its staff in July and major dips and drops in daily trading volume.
Roberts is the latest in a spate of C-suite departures in the Web3 and NFT sectors. Other high-profile executives who announced their departure from their firms include Kraken CEO Jesse Powell, Genesis Trading CEO Michael Moro, FTX US president Brett Harrison, and MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor.
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