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Crypto exchange Gemini reveals European expansion plans

Wed, 04 Dec 2019, 10:38 am UTC

Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has hired Starling Bank co-founder Julian Sawyer to spearhead its European operations.

Sawyer has been appointed as the Managing Director of the UK and Europe and will report directly to Gemini's President, Cameron Winklevoss. He will bring his extensive experience spanning 20 years in high-growth growing financial services organizations to Gemini.

Prior to joining Gemini, Sawyer co-founded Starling Bank, a UK-based digital bank, where he also served as the Chief Operating Officer. During his tenure, he led the bank through periods of “hyper-growth” — doubling its customer growth in eight months, successfully launching the Euro Account.

In addition, he has founded Bluerock Consulting, a financial management consultancy that he led as CEO from 1999-2011. He has also worked as a management consultant at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and Ernst & Young.

In his new role, Sawyer will focus on shaping Gemini’s overall strategy in the region, develop market-leading products, chart the course for operations, as well as hire new employees.

"Europe is the birthplace of modern financial markets and the United Kingdom (UK) has been a global financial capital of innovation for hundreds of years," said Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini. "Gemini needs to be here and Julian's deep knowledge and fintech expertise in these regions make him well-suited to lead Gemini's expansion into this pioneering area of the world."

Gemini’s expansion into the common currency area follows its expansion into Australia in August this year. In addition to the U.S., the exchange also has its presence in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

In an email to CoinDesk, Sawyer said that Gemini needs to secure an e-money license to provide services in local European currencies, adding that the exchange is in the process of applying for one through the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Over the past 18 months, Gemini has hired several senior leaders including Noah Perlman, former global head of financial crimes at Morgan Stanley, as Chief Compliance Officer; former Tanium executive David Damato as Chief Security Officer, former Google and Square exec Sydney Schaub as General Counsel, Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto, former COO at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), as Managing Director, Operations; and former New York Stock Exchange chief information officer Robert Cornish as Chief Technology Officer.

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