Binance Hires IPO Heavyweight as CFO, Fueling Rumors the Exchange is Going Public
Originally published on: CCN
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September 07, 2018
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has recruited an executive with wide experience in initial public offerings (IPOs) as its chief financial officer.
Wei Zhou, who is currently the vice chairman of gay dating platform Grindr, boasts of executive experience running into more than one-and-a-half decades. He began his career at the Hong Kong subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, where he focused on investment banking.
A graduate of Harvard University,where he received a bachelor’s degree in economics and East Asian studies, Zhou has particular expertise in growing and scaling business operations in the United States and China. Additionally, Zhou has served as the chief financial officer of both Charm Communications, a Chinese TV advertising firm, and Zhaopin.com, China’s second-biggest online recruitment services platform, managing to lead these firms into successful listings on NASDAQ and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), respectively.
Initial Public Offering
This has led to speculation that, with the hire, Binance is preparing for an IPO. However, the cryptocurrency exchange’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, has denied this while not dismissing the fact that the relatively young cryptocurrency sector could benefit from the fundraising model.
#Binance have no plans for IPO, but that doesn’t make those experiences less valuable in our new industry. On the contrary, those are very much needed. We are always looking for top talent, from traditional finance, internet … any industry and anywhere in the world! https://t.co/inZZ9eww92
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) September 7, 2018
The hiring of an ex-Goldman Sachs employee is not the first time in the recent past that a cryptocurrency firm has recruited an executive with experience from the traditional finance sector. As CCN reported earlier this month, for instance, Japanese crypto startup FXcoin announced that they had recruited a former foreign exchange dealer at Deutsche Bank, Yasuo Matsuda, as the firm’s senior strategist. Interestingly, the founder of the Japanese crypto startup, Tomoo Oshi, also has a background in traditional finance, having worked as the head of currency sales at the same German banking giant from which he poached his latest hire.
Towards the end of last month, U.S. cryptocurrency firm Coinbase announced that it had hired Jeff Horowitz, an alumnus of Bank of New York Mellon, to lead the company’s global compliance efforts. Prior to the new position, Horowitz held the position of global head of compliance and managing director of Pershing, a subsidiary of the firm. Horowitz had also worked at other traditional banking giants such as Salomon Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Citigroup.
In making the appointment, Coinbase argued that with the growth of the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector more attention needed to be paid to the compliance efforts that were increasingly becoming complex across the globe.
“Hiring Jeff is recognition on our part that navigating compliance complexities on a global scale requires a concerted, cross-functional effort, guided by leaders with experience that spans policy, financial services, and corporate governance,” wrote the president and COO of Coinbase Asiff Hirji, as CCN reported at the time.
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