Libra replaces general counsel with ex-Homeland Security chief

Facebook’s Libra project has announced Stevan E. Bunnell, former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has taken up post as the organization’s chief legal officer.

The Geneva-headquartered Libra Association, which is working on issues around the launch of the Libra stablecoin made the fresh hire just three months after appointing Robert Werner to the position, sparking speculation about the reasons for his departure. Wener has also been removed from the Libra website, where he was previously listed as a member of the executive team.

Bunnell spent 17 years at the Department of Justice, before moving to the private sector to take up the post of managing partner with O’Melveny & Myers LLP. More recently, he took over at the Department of Homeland Security as chief legal officer, with a focus on infrastructure protection, national and cyber security and immigration.

The news follows a shift in focus at the Libra Association earlier this year following a disastrous twelve months of butting against regulators worldwide. The association said at the time that its plans for a global stablecoin would now be scaled back with Libra instead focusing on securing a Swiss payments license. This would result in Libra more closely resembling standard digital payment services.

At the same time, the pushback from regulators saw the Association lose the support of many of its 28 original founding members including Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Vodafone Group plc.

While Libra has yet to comment on the reasons for the new hire, the move suggests Libra is gearing up for more battles with regulators as it pushes to get some version of its vision off the ground.

With Bunnell now in position, it remains to be seen whether the Libra Association can now get the project back on track.

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