Incoming Komainu CEO to stay at London Metal Exchange following nickel squeeze

Matthew Chamberlain, the incoming CEO of crypto custodian Komainu, will remain as CEO of the London Metal Exchange (LME) three months after announcing his resignation from the metals trading giant. 

“Both parties have come to the mutual decision for Mr Chamberlain to not move forward in joining Komainu as its CEO in May," Henson Orser, Komainu’s acting CEO, told The Block in a statement on Wednesday. "We part ways amicably and wish Mr Chamberlain the best as he continues on in his role as the CEO of the London Metal Exchange.”

Chamberlain had announced his resignation from the LME in January, weeks before the 145-year-old exchange was drawn into a crisis. As nickel prices soared following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the LME on March 8 decided to frieze futures contracts and cancel trades — drawing fire from investors who lost out, including Clifford Asness of hedge fund AQR Capital Management. 


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Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, LME's parent company, said in a statement it was pleased Chamberlain had decided to stay. 

"He leads from the front, exemplified by his handling of the unprecedented developments in the nickel market in the last few weeks." HKEX CEO Nicolas Aguzin said in the statement. "I know that today’s news will be warmly welcomed by colleagues, customers and the broader market and I look forward to working closely with Matt and the team in the months ahead."

Adrian Farnham, who had deferred retirement to act as LME's interim CEO while Chamberlain’s successor was identified, will leave the company in July.

Komainu was launched by investment firm CoinShares, Japanese investment bank Nomura and crypto hardware wallet maker Ledger in June 2020 as a hybrid digital asset custodian . The Jersey, Channel Islands-based company raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by hedge fund veteran Alan Howard in March 2021.

About Author

Andrew Rummer is executive editor for The Block Pro, based in London. He was previously managing editor at Bloomberg News and led special projects at Finimize. He has a degree in engineering from the University of Oxford. Follow him on Twitter at @AJRummer.