Newly appointed Binance CEO Richard Teng attempted to strike an optimistic tone with his first official company statement Monday, less than a week after founder and former CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao and the company both pled guilty to charges in the United States and agreed to billions of dollars in settlements.
“We have turned the page on Binance’s historical challenges and we are, in fact, stronger today than we have ever been,” Teng said, adding that the top crypto exchange has “systematically worked to address its past compliance issues” over the past two years.
Teng, previously Binance’s Global Head of Regional Markets and before that the firm’s Singapore CEO, was named new Binance CEO last Tuesday as the United States Department of Justice announced the settlement with the company and its founder.
Both Zhao and Binance pled guilty to violating criminal U.S. anti-money laundering rules, and as a condition of the settlement, Zhao agreed to step down from his CEO role and is forbidden to serve as an executive for the company for three years. Binance will pay $4.3 billion in fines and settlements and withdraw from the United States, while Zhao himself will pay a $50 million fine.
In his blog post, Teng said that he is committed to the “Binance way”—in his view, to “consistently deliver best-in-class products that people use and find valuable.” He also affirmed that Binance’s “core mission” is to deliver “freedom of money” to users.
Teng praised Zhao and said that he had accepted the role with the founder’s blessing, but also attempted to distance himself from the previous regime that had encountered trouble in the United States through noncompliance.
“Over the past six years, Binance has laid a foundation that has positioned it for decades of continued growth and success,” he wrote. “Now, my role is to lead our talented and committed team into that future while respecting and learning from the past.”
Zhao admitted last week that he had “made mistakes” and “must take responsibility,” and said he plans to take a break and pursue other interests—such as “passive investing” and potentially mentoring startups. He said it’s unlikely that he’ll lead another startup in the future. Zhao faces potential prison time as a result of his plea.
Edited by Stacy Elliott.