- The US Justice Department is seeking to settle its investigation into Binance for over $4 billion, Bloomberg reported.
- The settlement includes an agreement that CEO Changpeng Zhao step down as he faces criminal charges, the Wall Street Journal reported.
- We ranked who could fill Zhao's shoes at Binance.
Binance has seen key execs leave as regulatory woes mounted this year. But the crypto exchange has also accumulated talent that could take the reins should CEO Changpeng Zhao depart from the top slot.
Discussions may be heating up.
Bloomberg reports that the US Department of Justice is set to announce it has reached a settlement following a probe into the exchange.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Zhao will step down as CEO of the exchange he co-founded and plead guilty to charges related to money laundering, wire fraud, and sanctions violations.
Binance did not return a DL News request for comment.
Who will replace CZ?
Richard Teng presents one possible alternative. In under two years, Teng has gone from regional head of Middle East and North African markets to overseeing all regional markets.
Teng has plenty of C-suite experience under his belt. A former Monetary Authority of Singapore director, he was also the chief regulatory officer at Singapore exchange SGX.
More recently, he was the CEO of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, where he spent six years overseeing the growth of the international financial centre.
Binance has operations in the United Arab Emirates, making Teng a good choice to step in considering his local experience and glittering CV.
Regulators as well as senior leadership at Binance have discussed Teng’s potential succession, CoinDesk reported in June.
Teng is the “only leader” that could step into Zhao’s shoes, according to a CoinDesk report.
He would “continue building the company in his vision while helping bridge the existing gap between the industry and regulators,” a source told CoinDesk in June.
Noah Perlman is another current employee who could throw a hat in the ring, according to industry insiders.
He joined as chief compliance officer in January and is a former Morgan Stanley banker and one-time Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
Perlman presents a steady option and his litigation experience could be a benefit for the firm.
However, Binance’s shift towards the Middle East could rule out a US-based successor.
Yi He, Binance’s co-founder is another current employee who will play a role in the future of Binance.
The co-founder currently manages the exchange’s $7.5 billion venture arm, Binance Labs. As well as this she continues to lead on several fronts for Binance, including its institutional business and marketing, the exchange said.
A limited proficiency in English meant Yi He never became the face of the company, she told Bloomberg in June.
“When I interact with Western journalists or give public speeches, people might perceive our company as a Chinese company, right?” she told the news outlet.
Still, He’s role as co-founder and her partner’s importance to the culture and identity of the firm could ensure consistency.