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- Decrypt: Who Are the Executives Who Have Left Binance (So Far)?

Charged with lawsuits, investigations, and widespread regulatory action worldwide, crypto exchange Binance has seen a deluge of top-tier executives leave the company. 

Led by the elusive CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ)—who personally faces charges in the United States from the CFTC, SEC, and potentially the Department of Justicethe company has also been charged in the U.S., France, Brazil, and the U.K., among others. The alleged crimes committed range from aggravated money laundering, offering unregistered securities, and criminal sanctions violations. 

Speculation has ensued that the aforementioned legal claims are spurring high-ranking employees to leave the company behind–both within Binance and its branches sprawled across the world. 

Jonathan Farnell

The freshest departure is Head of Binance UK and former CEO of their payment service Bifinity, Jonathan Farnell. He took his role at Binance in May 2021, after a five-year stint as Director of Compliance and board member for the financial trading company, eToro. 

Concurrent to his position at Binance, Farnell served as CEO of their fiat-to-crypto payments provider Bifinity, which saw its windows shutter in mid-August. 

His exit, which according to his Linkedin profile took place in September 2023, comes amid an announcement last week by the company that they will pause onboarding British clients, after a stringent set of crypto advertising rules by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) went into effect. 

Brian Shroder

Former CEO of Binance.US, Shroder resigned from the company mid-September 2023, after taking up the role in September 2021. His departure was marked by widespread layoffs across the company’s U.S. branch, with an estimated 30% of employees terminated–not long after the SEC accused the company of breaking U.S. securities laws. 

A veteran executive, Shroder took the C-level spot after overseeing operations in Asia for Uber and Chinese fintech giant, Ant Group. Showcasing a Harvard MBA, he was initially tasked with taking the company public, a direction that hit a wall due to the aforementioned lawsuit. 

His entry came a month after former Binance.US CEO Brian Brooks abruptly quit after three months on the job. 

Interestingly, his Linkedin profile says that he still holds his position at Binance.US. 

Krishna Juvvadi

Head of Legal for Binance.US, Juvvadi resigned from the company mid-September 2023, the same week as Shroder. Although reasons remain unclear, his departure took place not long after the SEC’s legal actions against Binance and its CEO, CZ, for allegedly breaking U.S. securities laws. 

Mid-expansion for Binance’s U.S. arm, Juvvadi was one of many legal experts to join the company last year, signing on in May 2022. Before Binance, he served as global head of operations compliance for Uber, as well as their chief regulatory counsel. 

Juvvadi is a prominent lawyer, and served as a senior member of the legal team at Sher Leff LLP that won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against ExxonMobile on behalf of the state of New Hampshire for statewide groundwater contamination. In years prior, he had served as a trial attorney for the United States Department of Justice. 

Sidney Majalya

The former Chief Risk Officer, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Binance.US, Sidney Majalya resigned along with Juvvadi in mid-September 2023. 

He had been appointed to his position in December 2021, allegedly to strengthen Binance.US’ legal department in light of possible regulatory action during that time. Majalya joined Binance after more than two years as Intel’s chief compliance officer, where he also took the role VP of Legal and chaired the company’s Ethics and Compliance Oversight Committee. 

According to his Linkedin Profile, from August 2016 to July 2019, he held a number of director positions at Uber, mostly in the compliance department. 

Majalya showcases a longstanding legal career, forming part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division from 2004 to 2014. Following the decade offering legal expertise for the DOJ, he joined Oracle as Senior Global Compliance and Ethics Counsel. 

Patrick Hillmann

Apologies for any typos, but I was not expecting to be tweeting about this today.

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…

— Patrick Hillmann (@PRHillmann) July 6, 2023

Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for Binance, Hillmann stepped down from the role in September 2023, marking yet another high ranking executive to leave the company behind during that month. His resignation marked his nearly 2.5 year stay at the crypto exchange, which began as Chief Communications Officer in August 2021.

With an expertise in public advocacy, Hellmann's previous experience highlights more than two years at global public relations company, Edelman, where he exercised a role as executive VP and global head of innovation for the firm’s crisis and risk department. 

Prior to Edelman, Hillmann held positions at General Electric (GE) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), both times overseeing issues pertaining to public affairs. 

Upon departure, he posted on Twitter that he was “leaving on good terms,” expecting his second child “literally any hour now.”  

Catherine Coley

The former CEO of Binance.US left the company abruptly in April 2021–a departure and subsequent disappearance from public life that left many in the crypto world puzzled.  Coley made headlines in March 2023 after hiring her own independent attorney (a former CFTC director) in the CFTC’s lawsuit against Binance.

Ousted from her role after joining the ranks in June 2019, Coley was the head of institutional liquidity for Ripple from 2017 until she assumed her role at Binance.US.

With Bachelor of Science (BS), International Business, and Asian Studies degrees from the University of North Carolina, Coley worked on the Forex trading desk at Morgan Stanley for over five years, later entering the now-defunct Silicon Valley Bank as Forex Advisor. 

Coley also co-founded the Woman and Money (WAM) community, a female-focused community to help women become financially fearless. 

Stéphanie Cabossioras

Confirmation of Cabossioras stepping down took place last week when she left her post as executive director of Binance France. Although the company’s French branch has fallen under widespread regulatory scrutiny when it was charged with alleged money laundering, her resignation has not been linked to those actions. 

Cabossioras joined the ranks in April 2022 as head of legal for the crypto exchange operations in France. This came after working in different positions for the French Financial Markets Authority, 2017 to 2022.

She holds a History of International Relations Master’s Degree from Sorbonne University, as well as a Public Affairs Master’s Degree. 

Mayur Kamat

Kamat stepped down as Binance’s global head of product in early September 2023, lengthening the string of executives to have already left the company this year–allegedly due to how CZ responded to the investigation led by the DOJ. 

He has extensive experience in the product department, with roles as VP of Product for Agoda, a company focused on the travel industry, and product manager for Google and Microsoft. 

Kamat, who took the role at Binance in April 2022, holds a Bachelor in Engineering from the University of Mumbai, as well as a Masters of Science from Texas A&M University. 

Steven Christie

I usually don’t tweet much and try and keep a low profile, but wanted to clear the air about a couple of articles that were printed today. I can confirm that I am indeed leaving @binance, but the reasons for my departure are very different than what was reported.

— steven christie (@SKChristie9) July 7, 2023

Self-proclaimed the “second most hated man in crypto,” Christie resigned in July 2023 after over a year as SVP of Compliance of Binance. Although his exit was tied to his discontent with CZ’s handling of the CFTC lawsuit, Christie clarified it was for other reasons on Twitter, posting that it was due to mostly personal reasons. 

“Sorry my choice to take some time off couldn’t be more dramatic/entertaining!” he said on Twitter.

Christie has held a number of compliance-related jobs over the last decade, the majority of which were in the crypto industry. He was Global Head of Compliance for Kraken cryptocurrency exchange, setting up shop in August 2017 and leaving in May 2022 as he took his position at Binance. 

Matthew Price

Price was global head of intelligence and investigations at Binance from September 2021, although he began overseeing the Americas division for the company. He left in August 2023, another in the long list of executives to leave CZ’s empire behind. 

A police officer from Maryland, Price has been a part of law enforcement for well over a decade. From 2017 to 2019, before Binance, Price formed part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigations unit, overseeing cyber crimes relating to blockchain. 

Price was hired by Binance having led the IRS's investigation into Helix, a Bitcoin tumbler whose CEO recently pled guilty to charges related to money laundering.

He was also a member of the CIA from 2012 to 2016. Of late, he has rejoined a similar area of the blockchain industry, becoming the strategic engagement lead for Elliptic, a blockchain analytics company.  

Leon Foong

Formerly Binance’s head of Asia-Pacific, Foong also left the company in late August, amid claims of heightened regulatory scrutiny straining various C-level executives. 

Foong played a pivotal role in leading the company’s expansion into South Korea, Japan, and Thailand, along with voicing bullish sentiments for the subcontinent of India in the past. He was also cited on record claiming a full audit of Binance was not happening anytime soon. 

Hon Ng

Ng was general counsel for Binance up until July 2023, despite his Linkedin profile showcasing present employment at the crypto exchange.

Before becoming a part of Binance, joining in November 2020, Ng was an active member of Hong Kong’s football industry, playing several roles in the HK Football Association’s board of directors. 

Prior to that experience, and similar to many other Binance executives, Ng worked at Uber. As an attorney, he oversaw the legal department for five years, transitioning for ten months into the role of director of business development. 

Since departure, Ng has remained actively posting Binance-related news on Linkedin, the latest of which referred to a joint effort between the company and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that helped authorities in Thailand track down the five members of a million-dollar crypto scam. 

“Great to see the law enforcement team at Binance doing what they know best,” he said.

Helen Hai

On September 6, 2023, Hai announced her resignation as executive VP and head of global fiat exchange for Binance, then the tenth executive to depart the company in 2023. She was actively involved in the company in October 2018 as Head of Binance Charity Foundation. 

Hai’s work has primarily focused on Africa–she was head of Africa for Binance from October 2019 to April 2023–and is considered a young global leader for the World Economic Forum. She is currently a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Since departing, Hai has remained silent on most of her social media feeds. 

Vladimir Merkis

One of two top Russian executives to leave the firm in early September along with Hai is Vladimir Merkis. Linked to the company’s ongoing legal squirmish with regulators due to avoiding sanctions imposed on the Eastern European country, Merkis served the better half of two years at Binance, starting his tenure in January 2022 as General Manager. 

With a masters degree in Economics from the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, Merkis has worked in many positions in the digital world since 2009. He began in crypto in 2015 as a managing partner at The Token Fund, a blockchain-focused venture capital firm. 

He took to Linkedin to announce his withdrawal from the company early last month, posting a photo with CZ, and thanking the company for the long but invigorating days. 

Gleb Kostarev

The second of the Russian executives to leave the company in early September, Kostarev worked at Binance from July 2019 to September 2023. He began as marketing lead for Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a regional intergovernmental organization in Eurasia. 

According to his Linkedin profile he won the “Highest Growth Binancian” in 2020, and from March 2022 until his time at Binance ended, he served as VP, regional head of APAC, Eastern Europe, CIS, Turkey, Australia, and New Zealand. 

Kostarev posted on Facebook in his native Russian language the exodus from the company, remaining silent on speculation regarding what prompted his resignation. 

Steve Milton

Milton announced his resignation from his role as Binance global vice president of marketing and communications in early July 2023, after more than four and a half years at the company. He is one of four executives, including Hillmann, Ng, and Price, to reportedly have left due to CZ’s replies to a DOJ investigation, said Fortune. 

His Linkedin profile is remarkably void of previous experience, whereas his ‘X’ profile says he is a former Shopify and Meituan executive. 

Despite claims he left unhappy with Binance’s CEO, Milton has remained actively linked to his former boss on Twitter, reposting a CZ’s posts about Michael Lewis’ controversial book regarding Sam Bankman-Friend. 

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