Brian Brooks announced on Twitter Friday afternoon that he’s resigned as Binance.US CEO after just four months on the job.
Brooks confirmed in an email to CoinDesk that his account was not hacked. In the tweet, Brooks cited “differences over strategic direction” between him and his colleagues.
Before joining the U.S. arm of the Binance global crypto exchange, Brooks helmed the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the regulator for national banks, under U.S. President Donald Trump.
Brooks’ hiring appeared to have been part of a strategy by Binance.US and its parent to improve their standings by hiring well-regarded former regulators from around the world. Now, Brooks’ abrupt departure, along with last month’s similarly unexpected departure of the director of Binance Brazil after only six months, is bound to raise questions as regulatory scrutiny of the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume and its various subsidiaries has only intensified. In recent months, multiple countries including the U.K. and Japan have taken action against Binance.
In a statement, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao (Binance.US’ chairman) said he is “confident in Binance.US’s business and its commitment to serve its customers.”
Brooks’ departure, CZ added, would not affect Binance.US customers “in any way.”
Neither he nor Brooks elaborated on why they parted ways. No word on a successor, even an interim one, either.
“Brian’s work for Binance.US has been invaluable and we hope he will continue to be an integral part of the crypto industry’s growth, advocating for regulations that move our industry forward,” Zhao said in a separate statement provided to CoinDesk. “We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
That well-wishing contrasted with the way Binance.US dealt with Brooks’ predecessor Catherine Coley; the exchange didn’t even mention her when it hired Brooks in April.
During his time as acting comptroller of the currency, Brooks pursued an aggressively crypto-friendly reform agenda and met often with members of the digital asset industry – from corporate CEOs to bleeding-edge entrepreneurs from the decentralized finance (DeFi) space.
UPDATE (AUG. 6, 22:40 UTC): Adds comments from Binance CEO, background on Brooks.
UPDATE (AUG. 6, 22:49 UTC): Adds background, departure of Binance Brazil director.