A look at the high-profile departures from the top cryptocurrency exchange in 2023.
- Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is facing a mass exodus of top executives.
- The company is under regulatory scrutiny from multiple countries, raising concerns about its future stability.
- CEO Chagpheng Zhao (CZ) has dismissed the departures and regulatory issues as “FUD.”
- The high-profile departures add to the uncertainty, making it unclear whether these exits are due to regulatory issues, internal tensions, or other factors.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has witnessed a significant outflow of key players on its executive team. While the reasons for these departures remain unclear, the company has faced regulatory scrutiny and criticism.
Binance has been under investigation by regulatory agencies from various countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Nigeria, and Japan. Additionally, the exchange has been criticized for its lack of transparency and aggressive business tactics.
Despite the criticisms, CEO Chagpheng Zhao (CZ) has always maintained his stance about Binance, calling all speculations and rumors “FUD” (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Recently, CZ responded to adverse reports after two high-profile departures from the company’s Russian body.
Helen Hai, Executive Vice President
Binance Executive Vice President Helen Hai is the latest high-profile name to leave the top cryptocurrency exchange. According to the Wall Street Journal, the respected United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Goodwill Ambassador resigned on September 6.
Helen Hai has been a long-serving member of the cryptocurrency exchange, having joined in 2018.
Vladimir Smerkis and Gleb Kostarev
Vladimir Smerkis and Gleb Kostarev also announced their resignation on September 6. As reported by BSC News, the two top Binance executives in Russia took to the social media platform Facebook to announce their retirement.
Vladimir was the general manager for Binance in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), while Kostarev was the Vice President of Eastern Europe, Turkey, the CIS, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Friends, today is my last day at Binance. I am stepping down from my role as VP, Head of Eastern Europe, CIS, Turkey, and ANZ (a few months ago, I also stopped covering APAC). I’d like to thank Changpeng Zhao and He Yi for their trust and all the opportunities they have provided me,” Gleb wrote on Facebook.
Mayur Kamat, Product Lead
Mayur Kamat resigned as the Global Head of Product at Binance on September 4. As reported by The Crypto Times, Mayur stated that he wanted to take some time off work after being in the field of product work for 20 years.
“I have worked closely with product leads to ensure a seamless transition. It is also a good time for me personally to take some time off after 20 years of non-stop product work. It has been an experience of a lifetime working at Binance and seeing our user base grow,” Mayur said.
The former Vice President of product at Agoda joined Binance in April 2022.
Leon Foong, Head of Asia-Pacific
On August 31, Leon Foong left Binance. Foong had been responsible for Binance’s expansion to the Japanese and Korean markets, including Thailand. BSC News reported his resignation, citing that people familiar with the matter fed the announcement to the media.
Patrick Hillmann, Chief Strategy Officer
Patrick Hillmann was Binance’s Chief Strategy officer for two years before confirming his departure via Twitter on July 6, 2023. According to his statement, he left Binance on good terms with CZ, citing that it was the right time to take up another challenge.
“It’s true that I am leaving @Binance, but I’m doing so on good terms. I continue to respect and support @cz_binance and am grateful for having had the incredible opportunity to work under his leadership. I’ve been here for two years and it’s simply time for me to move on to the next challenge,” Hillmann wrote on Twitter.
Hillmann joined the company in 2021 as a leading Communications executive and was promoted to Chief Strategy Officer in October 2022.
Steven Christie, Senior Vice President of Compliance
Steven Christie followed Hillmann out the door, dismissing speculation that he left due to the company’s regulatory issues.
Christie stated that he had worked non-stop in crypto compliance since 2015 and needed a break.
“I have been in crypto compliance since 2015 when I joined Xapo, spending the last ~6 years straight leading and growing the Compliance functions at Kraken and Binance without a break. At this point I am simply tired. And according to my wife fat, and need to lose some weight,” Christie wrote on Twitter.
He joined Binance in May 2022 from rival exchange Kraken.
Han Ng, General Counsel
Han Ng was the third significant departure, confirming his exit through his LinkedIn profile. Ng had been with the company since 2018.
Steve Milton, Global Vice President of Marketing and Communications
Steve Milton left the company in June. While he didn’t release an official statement, speculation rose due to his tweets about Binance’s regulatory troubles. Milton was seen retweeting posts about Binance’s regulatory troubles before his resignation, as seen in his timeline on Twitter.
He confirmed his departure via his LinkedIn profile and on Twitter, which reads, “ex-Binance.” Milton joined Binance in September 2021.
Matthew Price, Senior Director of Global Investigations and Intelligence
Matthew Price resigned amid the wave of high-profile departures from the top exchange. He left Binance on July 6, 2023, just like Hillmann.
Price had initially joined as Head of Intelligence and Investigations for Binance America in 2021 before taking a global role in September 2022. He now works for Elliptic, a financial service company.
The wave of departures from Binance raises questions about the company’s stability and future. Whether this exodus is due to regulatory challenges, internal discord, or a combination of both remains to be seen.