Binance appoints new CEO as CZ barred for three years
Richard Teng will step into the role of CEO at Binance, succeeding Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao, as the crypto exchange finalizes a settlement with U.S. authorities. Teng’s promotion comes as part of a plea agreement that sees Binance admitting to various criminal charges and agreeing to a fine totaling $4.3 billion.
Zhao publicly acknowledged the change in leadership and his departure in a social media post, expressing his emotional difficulty with the decision but emphasizing the importance of taking responsibility for his actions. He assured that while stepping down as CEO, he would continue to provide guidance as a shareholder and former chief executive within the bounds of the resolutions with U.S. agencies.
Teng, previously overseeing Binance’s Global Head of Regional Markets, has set forth his goals, which include maintaining user confidence in the platform, collaborating with regulatory bodies to balance innovation with consumer protection, and driving the growth of web3 through partnerships.
Before assuming his responsibilities at Binance, Teng had a history of leadership in various financial institutions, including the Singapore Exchange Ltd, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Abu Dhabi Global Market.
Binance appointed Richard Teng to head its regional markets outside the United States in May, but his tenure with the crypto giant began as the CEO of its Singapore operations in August 2021.
Today, I stepped down as CEO of Binance. Admittedly, it was not easy to let go emotionally. But I know it is the right thing to do. I made mistakes, and I must take responsibility. This is best for our community, for Binance, and for myself.
Binance is no longer a baby. It is…
— CZ 🔶 Binance (@cz_binance) November 21, 2023
CZ’s plea is part of a broader settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes a hefty $4.3 billion fine levied against the cryptocurrency exchange. Alongside this, Zhao has consented to a personal fine of $50 million, with his sentencing to be scheduled for a future date.
In addition to leadership changes, the settlement stipulates that Binance must engage an independent compliance monitor, and as part of his plea agreement, Zhao will be barred from any operational role in Binance for a period of three years following the appointment of this monitor.
Despite stepping down from his executive role and facing limitations on his involvement with the company’s operations, Zhao will retain his majority stake in Binance, which is recognized as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. This condition of the settlement allows him to maintain ownership while the company navigates the aftermath of the DOJ’s investigation and works towards regulatory compliance.