Haichao Wang, formerly mining giant Bitmain’s director of product engineering, has officially been named the company’s new CEO. Bitmain’s former co-CEOs and cofounders, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, will continue on as directors, according to a blog post from Bitmain, contributing to the company’s “strategic development.”
The blog post, published at 10 a.m. Beijing time, comes in the wake of Bitmain’s IPO application expiring. (A PR representative from the company, Nishant Sharma, told BREAKERMAG yesterday that Bitmain will reapply for an IPO “at an appropriate time in the future.”)
This isn’t the first we’ve heard about Wang becoming Bitmain’s CEO. In January, anonymous sources leaked the news to the South China Morning Post. At the time, however, the information had not been confirmed, and there was no specific timeline for the succession—though the article did say that Wang had started taking over CEO duties in December 2018.
Wang served as product engineering director at Bitmain for nearly two years, where he managed a team of 23, according to his LinkedIn, and reported directly to the CEOs. Before that, he worked at Availink, a company that designs semiconductors, for more than six years. Wang’s LinkedIn says his product engineering director position at Bitmain ended in December 2018, suggesting there could be something to the report that he took on CEO duties that same month. (Bitmain declined to comment on this.)
Meanwhile, a Coindesk report from earlier this month detailed a divide at Bitmain between the two former CEOs, citing an unnamed source. The source said one side of the divide, led by Wu, focused on Bitcoin Cash development, while another, aligned with Zhan, worked more on the design of cryptocurrency mining chips. Sharma denies this. “These are rumors and false,” he told us.
Bitmain’s blog post about the change in leadership also emphasizes how the company will focus on customer service this year. It otherwise includes some general strategic plans, like “aligning [its] focus on cryptocurrency and AI chips” and “establishing clear business divisions for mining hardware, AI, mining farms, and mining pools.”
“As CEO, Haichao’s focus will be the same as the focus of the company,” says Sharma, “which, for 2019, is customers.”