Binance.US CEO departs and 100 employees are laid off at amid clashes with regulators

Binance.US is looking for a new CEO—again.

The crypto exchange for U.S. customers said on Tuesday it would reduce headcount by about one-third, cutting 100 jobs. CEO Brian Shroder is also set to depart, leaving the company to replace its CEO for the third time since it was founded in 2019.

The first CEO, Catherine Coley, became the first woman to head a major crypto exchange when she took the helm at launch. By 2021, Coley was forced out and replaced with Brian Brooks, who as former acting comptroller of the currency was once in charge of regulating U.S. banks. 

Brooks departed just months into the job amid disagreements with Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, according to Intelligencer. Brooks had a plan to help Binance.US ease regulators’ concerns about the company, which included raising a new round of capital and adding American board members at Binance. He also wanted to move Binance’s technology to the U.S. from abroad. The transfer of certain trading processes and features to U.S. servers reportedly was underway when CZ scrapped the plan.

Although Binance.US was set up as an independent firm to serve U.S. customers, for years the company has faced accusations by regulators and legislators that it was more intertwined with parent company Binance than it revealed.

Shroder ascended to the CEO position a month after Brooks’ departure and led the company through a $200 million funding round last year that valued Binance.US at $4.5 billion. He also led the company through some of its toughest regulatory challenges, including lawsuits from the U.S. government.

Now, the company is without a leader as it faces a lawsuit the SEC filed in June. The regulator accused Binance and Binance.US of evading laws meant to protect American investors by sending billions of dollars of customer funds to a company controlled by Zhao. The complaint also alleges Binance allowed some U.S. customers to illegally access its main platform.

After the SEC filed its complaint in June, Binance.US avoided a full asset freeze requested by the regulator but said that its banking partners had cut it off, causing it to halt customer trading with U.S. dollars on its platform. 

Binance has until Sept. 21 to formally respond to the SEC’s allegations. The company did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment.

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