In November 2018, ETHNews covered mining giant Bitmain's restructuring after Nishant Sharma, the company's international marketing manager, reported that co-founder and co-CEO Jihan Wu would reposition and continue on with the company as a co-director.
Today, January 10, more information has surfaced regarding Bitmain's chief executive reshuffling. According to an article in the South China Morning Post, both Wu and co-founder and co-CEO Micree Zhan will be replaced by an in-house hire. Although the two founders will no longer be involved with day-to-day business activity, they will stay on as the company's co-chairs and will still make "final calls on big decisions."
Citing two unnamed sources, the article suggests that the most probable successor is Haichao Wang, currently Bitmain's director of product engineering. One source claimed that Wang had already taken on CEO duties from Wu and Zhan in December. The report notes that there is no timetable set for when Wang will be named the new CEO.
Bitmain made headlines in December 2018 when speculation circulated that the company would lay off 50 percent of its employees. Dovey Wan, founding partner at the blockchain investment firm Primitive Ventures, tweeted screenshots from the Chinese career-based social networking platform Maimai showing that Bitmain's Beijing office size would be reduced from over 1,000 employees to about 300.
Along with the Beijing layoffs, financial news source Globes reported that Bitmaintech Israel, Bitmain's artificial intelligence research and development center, was being shut down. All 23 employees were laid off, including Bitmain's vice president for sales and marketing, Gadi Glikberg, who was head of the R&D center.
Earlier, in June 2018, Bitmain had floated the idea of an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. If approved by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the IPO listing would allow Bitmain's backers to realize a return on their investments. By September 2018, Bitmain had filed its IPO prospectus, but poor quarterly results for 2018 caused concerns. Bitmain had combined its Q1 and Q2 revenue, instead of separating the two periods, and reports indicated that Bitmain's profits could have taken a backwards step, with Q2 losses as much as $400 million. Perhaps as a result, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has yet to approve Bitmain's IPO.