(Bloomberg) -- Binance Holdings Ltd. named a board of directors for the first time, as the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange seeks to reshape itself after pleading guilty last year to US charges of anti-money laundering and sanctions violations. 

Gabriel Abed, who served as ambassador of Barbados to the United Arab Emirates, was named as chairman. The seven-member board also includes Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng, along with three other company executives - Heina Chen, Jinkai He, and Lilai Wang. The two other outside members are Arnaud Ventura, managing partner at investment firm Gojo & Co, and Bayview Acquisition Corp. CEO Xin Wang. The appointments were effective March 7, according to the Abu Dhabi Global Market website. 

Chen, He and Wang are some of the earliest employees at Binance, and are named as founding team members of the crypto exchange. Chen is currently a senior executive and co-founder of Binance, according to a spokesperson. Wang is responsible of Binance’s technology development and He has led several critical units at Binance including fiat for on- and off-ramps.

“Binance having a board composed primarily of company insiders tells me they are still resistant to outside control and oversight, and the lack of depth on the board of independent members with deep regulated financial risk or compliance experience is not ideal,” said Austin Campbell, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and a consultant for blockchain firms. “Even so, this is a step in the right direction versus having no board at all, so what will matter is if they are effective shepherds of the company going forward.”

The appointment of the board is seen as among the first significant changes at Binance under Teng, who became Binance’s CEO in November, — following the compamy’s settlement with US authorities. The firm has not announced its global headquarters yet. Abed, Ventura and Wang did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since Binance was founded in China in 2017, the exchange claimed to exist without headquarters. After settling with US authorities in November, Teng indicated that he would establish a more conventional corporate structure, including naming its headquarters and board of directors.

Binance agreed to pay $4.3 billion in February after a US judge approved a plea deal against the crypto exchange. Binance’s founder Changpeng Zhao also pleaded guilty to anti-money laundering and sanctions charges. Zhao is expected to be sentenced later in April.

(Adds outside comment in the fourth paragraph.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.