Bitmain Gears Up for CEO Transition; Co-Founders Step Down

Crypto mining giant Bitmain’s international marketing manager Nishant Sharma in November has revealed that Jihan Wu, its co-founder and co-CEO is set to reposition and carry on being the company’s co-director.

Additional information about the Bitmain’s CEO reshuffling has recently unraveled. According to a January 10 report by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Wu, as well as, Micree Zhan, the company’s co-founder and co-CEO, are slated to be replaced by an “in-house” hire. While the co-founders are no longer part of the company’s daily activities, the two are expected to remain as Bitmain’s co-chairs with the capacity to still make “final calls on big decisions.”

Alluding to two anonymous sources, SCMP hints that Haichao Wang, Bitmain’s current director of product engineering, will be the most likely successor. A source states that Wang has already taken over CEO responsibilities in December. The publication also stresses that no timetable has been set as to when Wang will be officially declared as the new CEO.

Just this December, Bitmain grabbed the headlines when rumors began circulating that the company was set to lay off 50 percent of its workforce. In a tweet, Blockchain investment firm Primitive Ventures founding partner Dovey Wan posted screenshots from Maimai, a China-based career-focused social networking platform, which indicated that Bitmain’s Beijing headquarters would see a significant reduction from more than 1,000 employees down to around 300.

Meanwhile, financial news outlet Globes also reported that Bitmaintech Israel, Bitmain’s artificial intelligence (AI) research and development center, had been shut down. Together with the company’s vice president for sales and marketing Gadi Glikberg, all 23 employees were also laid off.

In June last year, Bitmain indicated the possibility of an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. In case the Hong Kong Stock Exchange approves, the IPO listing would enable Bitmain’s backers to see a return on their investments. In September, Bitmain filed its IPO prospectus. However, dismal quarterly results for 2018 caused worries. Instead of separating the two periods, Bitmain had merged its first quarter with its second-quarter revenue. Reports signified that Bitmain’s profits took a tumble, with second-quarter losses pegged at as much as $400 million. This is perhaps the reason why the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has not yet approved Bitmain’s IPO.