Crypto exchange Binance hit by executive exodus


By Tom Wilson and Jaiveer Shekhawat

(Reuters) -A string of executives have quit Binance, according to their tweets and media reports, the latest blow for the world’s biggest crypto exchange as its battles a slate of legal and regulatory headaches.

Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann said in a tweet on Thursday that he was leaving the exchange, citing personal reasons. Steven Christie, a compliance executive who joined Binance in May 2022, also tweeted on Friday that he was leaving, saying he was “tired” and that he needed to “lose some weight.”

General Counsel Hon Ng has also quit, Fortune and Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, with both outlets citing a person familiar with his departure. Yibo Ling, Binance’s U.S.-based chief business officer, has also left, Bloomberg reported.

Binance did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the resignations. Neither Ng nor Ling immediately replied to LinkedIn messages form Reuters.

Last month, U.S. regulators sued the crypto exchange and its CEO Changpeng Zhao for allegedly operating a “web of deception.” Binance has said it would defend itself “vigorously.”

The exchange is under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department over possible money-laundering and sanctions violations, Reuters has reported.

Fortune, citing a person at Binance familiar with the situation, reported that the executives quit over Zhao’s response to the Justice Departure probe. Reuters could not independently confirm this.

Zhao, a billionaire who is one of crypto’s most powerful figures, said in a tweet on Friday: “Yes, there is turnover (at every company). But the reasons dreamed up by the “news” are completely wrong.”

Hillmann, who joined Binance in 2021 as its top communications executive, became its chief strategy officer in October last year. After Zhao, he was Binance’s most outspoken advocates on social media.

“I’ve taken this company through a lifetime of industry crises and regulatory challenges,” Hillmann tweeted, citing a string of corporate failures to hit crypto last year. “Despite all of these challenges, the company has continued to grow and thrive.”

(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Jaiveer Singh Shekhawat in Bengaluru, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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