Binance Exec Touted As Possible ‘CZ’ Replacement

Lavina Daryanani

Last week, it was revealed that Richard Teng will head all of Binance’s regional markets outside of the U.S. Teng will assume his new position today. This role is an expansion of his previous stint where he handled Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. He joined the world’s leading crypto exchange in August 2021 as Chief Executive Officer of Singapore. Within a short span of time, he quickly climbed up the rankings ladder. Now, according to a recent Bloomberg report, Teng is seen as a possible “heir” to Binance’s current CEO, Changpeng Zhao. Specifically, the report highlighted,

“Teng has emerged as the frontrunner to take over as CEO should Zhao relinquish that position, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

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Binance’s regulatory woes

Bloomberg’s unnamed sources went on to assert that the succession issue has taken on ‘additional urgency’ as the U.S. regulatory scrutiny of Binance has surged lately. Notably, in March, the CFTC sued Binance and Zhao for allegedly violating derivatives rules. Zhao, however, has contended against the characterization of many of the issues red-flagged by the commission. Last month, it was revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice’s national security division is allegedly examining whether Binance allowed Russian customers to access the exchange in violation of U.S. sanctions.

Reportedly, “at least four U.S. federal agencies” are investigating or bringing enforcement action against Binance. Leaving aside the U.S., Binance is in troubled waters in other regions as well. In mid-May, the exchange was not able to facilitate fiat deposits in Australia. In effect, it ended up suspending the service. Specifically, its local settlement provider ceased support for the exchange, leading to a halt. Right after, Binance halted all Australian dollar trading pairs as of June 1. Now, the exchange is still in search of an alternative provider to continue offering AUD deposits. In fact, regulators in Australia are also looking into Binance’s business.

Bloomberg’s report went on to highlight that regulators in Canada are also examining Binance. Alongside, even Dubai has tightened scrutiny of license applicants, including the world’s top crypto exchange. Bloomberg’s report noted,

“The apparent bet: Teng’s resume, with senior positions at Singapore’s central bank and Abu Dhabi’s international free-trade zone, makes him the ideal candidate to help steer Binance through the regulatory hurricane bearing down on it.”

Binance remains tight-lipped

According to Campbell Harvey, a Finance Professor at Duke University, Teng’s appointment “checks the boxes for trust.” Zhao recently revealed in a Twitter space that he and Teng were introduced by an employee at Singapore’s central bank. He said,

“They said look, this is Richard, he’s a cool guy. And so I talked to him. Within two weeks we reached a deal to hire him.”

Teng’s rise has seen him join the so-called inner circle. He Yi, Binance’s other co-founder, recently claimed in an interview that Teng is a “very seasoned, professional manager.” The executive added that they all “like and recognize Richard.” In fact, ever since he joined Binance, his scope has been continually expanding,” she contended. Binance, however, hasn’t revealed anything publicly with respect to Zhao’s successor. The Bloomberg report clarified,

“Binance didn’t respond to requests for comment on succession.”

Zhao has also not announced anything pertaining to the same. However, he recently joked around on Twitter and said that if he ever lost his job, he’d not starve.

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