Binance regulatory hurdles may lead to CZ successor.

Binance has faced regulatory difficulties recently, which has opened up the possibility of a potential successor to Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, the current CEO and co-founder of the platform.

One of the top candidates for the position is Richard Teng, a former civil servant who now works as a crypto executive. Teng was recently appointed as the head of all regional markets outside of the US, according to Bloomberg, citing sources who are familiar with the matter.

Teng has held senior positions at Singapore’s central bank and Abu Dhabi’s international free-trade zone, making him an ideal candidate to help guide Binance through the current regulatory challenges.

One of Teng’s first responsibilities at Binance was to help the platform secure a crypto license in Singapore, which was at the time one of the most sought-after approvals in the crypto industry. However, the application was unsuccessful because Binance’s affiliate did not meet the criteria for protecting against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Despite this setback, Teng’s prospects at Binance were not affected, and he was subsequently promoted to head of the Middle East and North Africa, followed by an oversight of Europe and Asia.

Teng has joined an exclusive group of Zhao’s confidants, which includes He Yi, Binance’s other co-founder, with whom Zhao has two children.

In a recent interview, Yi mentioned Teng’s regulatory background when asked about his advancement, but also stated that “he is a very seasoned, professional manager,” and added that “since he joined Binance, his scope has been continually expanding, and we all like and recognize Richard.”

Teng Could Help Binance Navigate Regulatory Hurdles

Binance, which still handles more trading than all other top centralized crypto exchanges combined, has been facing heavy scrutiny from US federal agencies.

According to reports, the crypto exchange is currently the subject of at least four investigations or enforcement actions in the US, including a lawsuit from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) which alleges that Binance knowingly offered unregistered crypto derivative products in the US.

Regulators in Canada and Australia are also investigating its business, and even Dubai, where Zhao is based, has tightened scrutiny of license applicants including Binance.

However, Teng’s appointment to a leadership position may help Binance navigate these regulatory challenges.

“Binance is signaling that they want to work with the regulators,” said Campbell Harvey, a finance professor at Duke University.

Recently, the exchange revealed that it has cooperated with US federal prosecutors to seize $4.4 million in crypto assets and freeze accounts connected to North Korean hacking groups.

Binance appears to be preparing for a period of increased regulatory scrutiny, in part due to the rapid collapse of FTX, the crypto exchange that many saw as the most formidable challenger to Binance’s dominance.

Earlier this year, the exchange hired former Gemini Trust COO Noah Perlman, whose resume includes a six-year stint as global head of financial crimes at Morgan Stanley, to run its compliance operations.

In addition, the company has consistently claimed that it has increased its compliance team to over 750 people over the past two years.