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GSR Names Houlihan Lokey MD David Sola COO

  • Trey Griggs joins GSR as CEO of GSR Services USA
  • Company is hiring aggressively to support growth, with plans to hire 40 professionals before July

HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GSR, a global leader in digital asset market-making, announced today that it has hired David Sola, former managing director of global investment bank Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Institutions Group, as its new Chief Operating Officer. The company also announced the appointment of W. G. (Trey) Griggs, III, a former J. Aron and Calpine executive, as Chief Executive Officer of GSR Services USA, a subsidiary of GSR’s global operation.

Both appointments come as GSR continues its record-breaking pace of growth and business expansion. In 2020, the company recorded its first billion-dollar year in the creation and trading of custom cryptocurrency options, alongside its market making business that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to the crypto ecosystem daily. In the midst of a challenging global economy, GSR has rapidly expanded its team, which now numbers over 65 market professionals, technology experts and support staff. Already, the company has added 12 individuals in 2021 and plans to reach over 100 personnel by the end of the summer.

Prior to joining GSR, Mr. Sola spent a decade as the head of Houlihan Lokey’s deal-making team in London. His work has centered around the convergence of traditional and digital finance and other industries, helping firms navigate the technological, financial and regulatory aspects of this fast-growing space. He has been the lead M&A banker on over $80 billion of completed transactions across multiple geographies. He also spearheaded equity and debt financings for clients in the public and private markets and advised on financial restructurings and joint ventures. He brings an extensive network of contacts from across the European banking industry, which will be vital as GSR continues to expand its business among traditional financial firms entering the digital asset marketplace.

Prior to his time at Houlihan Lokey, Mr. Sola was a Managing Director for SoftBank Europe, overseeing the conglomerate’s technology investments in the region. He also spent seven years at UBS Investment Bank, where he was the co-head of European M&A.

Cristian Gil, GSR Co-Founder, said: “David’s appointment attests to the transformative impact that digital assets are having on financial services and to the substantial role that GSR is playing in this transformation. His expertise will be essential as we further accelerate GSR’s growth in this fast-moving space. We are thrilled to bring David on to our roster of team members from some of the top firms in finance.”

Mr. Sola added: “There are a handful of firms bridging the gap between traditional and digital finance, and I believe GSR is among those leaders. I was impressed with the vision, values and caliber of the GSR team as well as its potential to impact the future of finance. Digital assets are transforming the financial industry and every vertical it serves, and I saw this as an exciting opportunity to drive that progress.”

The appointment of Mr. Griggs as CEO of GSR Services USA will also bring unparalleled experience to GSR’s leadership team. Prior to joining GSR, Mr. Griggs led efforts to locate and evaluate acquisition opportunities at Kindle Energy, a Blackstone portfolio company. Mr. Griggs also worked at independent power producer Calpine in roles including President, Chief Commercial Officer and Executive Vice President.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Griggs worked at Goldman Sachs’ J. Aron division for 14 years alongside GSR founders Cristian Gil and Richard Rosenblum. Trey led Goldman’s North American Energy Risk Management activities and went on to establish and lead the Houston based Commodities Sales & Trading Office from 2011 to 2015.

“I’m excited to work once again with Rich and Cris, as well as the rest of the GSR team,” said Mr. Griggs. “GSR’s rapid growth is a testament to the company’s standard of service and unique approach to digital asset markets. I look forward to building the company’s global presence, with a primary focus on the US market.”

About GSR

GSR, founded in 2013, is a global leader in digital asset trading. We specialize in providing liquidity, risk management and structured products to institutional participants in the digital asset ecosystem. Our team of veteran finance and technology executives from Goldman Sachs, Two Sigma, Citadel, IBM and Oracle, among others, has developed one of the world’s fastest and most robust trading platforms.


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