Luno shakes up leadership team as it readies public listing

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 22 Mar 2023
Luno executive chairman Marcus Swanepoel.
Luno executive chairman Marcus Swanepoel.

Crypto exchange Luno has made some changes to its leadership team, as it prepares for its next phase of growth.

In a statement, the company says Luno’s co-founder and chief executive officer Marcus Swanepoel is moving into a new role as executive chairman, and chief operating officer James Lanigan, who has been with the company for five years, is elevated to CEO.

The move comes after the South African-born crypto exchange recently announced it is looking to reduce its workforce by 35%.

The firm says as executive chairman, Swanepoel will continue to work closely with Lanigan to guide Luno’s vision and strategy, while focusing on broadening Luno’s investor base to support the company’s next stage of growth.

As part of this process, Luno has hired Canaccord Genuity Group to help bring on new institutional and strategic investors alongside Digital Currency Group (DCG) to fund scaling, support expansion, accelerate market share gain and prepare the company for an eventual public listing.

“Co-founding and serving as the CEO of Luno for the past 10 years has been the greatest honour of my career and I’m excited for our next chapter as we continue to put the power of crypto in everyone’s hands,” says Swanepoel.

“The opportunity for crypto is bigger and brighter than ever, and James is a seasoned operator and an outstanding leader with a track record of success across all aspects of running a truly global fintech business. I have the utmost confidence that James will continue to deepen our trust with customers and key stakeholders alike, driving both Luno’s business and the industry forward.”

Currently serving as chief operating officer, Lanigan established Luno as a “market-leading brand across multiple markets, building local teams throughout Africa, Europe and Asia Pacific, while also growing Luno’s product portfolio for easier access to crypto”, says the company.

In this capacity, Lanigan oversaw operations, commercial, countries, product, marketing and customer success departments, it adds.

Prior to joining Luno in 2018, Lanigan held senior commercial, operational and marketing roles across multiple industries, most recently as chief marketing officer at Bookatable – now TheFork, a global online restaurant reservation platform acquired by Michelin in 2016.

“It has been a privilege to serve alongside a founder and leader as strong as Marcus, who cares so deeply about making a positive impact for our customers and employees,” Lanigan adds.

“I’m passionate about continuing to help Luno build the products and services that guide our customers in a responsible way along every step of their crypto journey, while maintaining our dedication to trust, security and compliance.”

“Having first invested in Luno’s seed round in 2014 followed by an acquisition in 2020, we want to thank Marcus for his dynamic leadership and enduring enthusiasm for the global crypto landscape as he transformed Luno into a digital asset powerhouse,” says Barry Silbert, founder and CEO of DCG.

“With James at the helm and strategic partnership from Marcus in his new role as executive chairman, we look forward to supporting Luno in its ambitious and continued growth journey.”

Luno is a wholly-owned investment of DCG. The digital asset investor acquired Luno in 2020 post its Series B funding round and after first investing in the company’s seed round in 2014.

Providing capital, strategic guidance and other resources to evolve its business model, DCG supported Luno scaling to $100 million revenue with a 40% operating margin and more than 11 million wallets across 40 countries.