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Binance head of regional markets outside the US Richard Teng is rumored to be the chosen successor if CEO Zhao relinquishes his position.
Reports about a Binance CEO successor are starting to fill the grapevine following the crypto exchange’s regulatory problems. Although there is no official word from Binance or current CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Binance executive Richard Teng is the most likely heir apparent if Zhao decides to step down.
Binance is currently facing several problems in different regions. In May, the crypto exchange’s third-party payment provider abruptly discontinued services to the company. Not long after, Binance suspended all bank transfer withdrawals and deposits of the Australian Dollar (AUD). At the time, Binance Australia said users could still trade via debit or credit cards while it searched for an alternative provider.
In April, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) revoked Binance’s derivative broker license held by subsidiary Oztures Trading Pty Ltd. Interestingly, the official ASIC press release specified that Binance requested the revocation. However, it also said the regulator has been “conducting a targeted review of Binance financial service business in Australia”.
Considering the operational problems in Australia, appointing a CEO successor might be more urgent as Binance receives continuous regulatory attacks. In the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) opened an investigation into Binance’s derivatives operations, claiming the company allowed Americans to trade derivatives products. In the suit filed against the exchange, CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam said “for years, Binance knew they were violating CFTC rules”.
Binance has also announced its exit from Canada. In a long-form tweet posted in May, Binance said it is leaving Canada because of “new guidance related to stablecoins and investor limits”. Binance said it postponed the decision for a long time to find a solution but had found none so far. In addition to Binance, OKX, dYdX, Bittrex, Paxos, and Bybit have also announced their exits from the Canadian marketplace.
Will Rumoured CEO Successor Teng Solve Binance’s Problems?
Richard Teng joined Binance as the CEO of Singapore in August 2021. Teng had a 13-year job with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and was also the chief regulatory officer at Singapore’s stock exchange. Richard Teng also ran the Abu Dhabi Global Market for 6 years.
Since there is no official communication, it is unclear if or when Teng will be the official successor as CEO. However, Teng’s potential selection may have some effect on Binance’s teeming problems. In May, Zhao chose Teng to head all regional markets, excluding the US, since Binance US is a standalone entity. Binance had promoted him to oversee the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in December 2021. Last year, he became the head of Binance’s European business in addition. Binance then made him head of Asia, Europe, and MENA in April before promoting him again last month.
Teng’s appointment and possible succession seem like a white flag raised to regulators. According to Duke University finance professor Campbell Harvey, choosing Teng “checks the boxes for trust”. He also said of the selection:
“Binance is signaling that they want to work with the regulators.”
Since Teng has nearly 20 years of experience working for and interfacing with government entities, his succession could show regulatory agencies that Binance will cooperate.