GSR has hired David Sola, former managing director of global investment bank Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Institutions Group, as its new Chief Operating Officer. We are pleased to also announced the appointment of 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, GSR recorded its first billion-dollar year in the creation and trading of custom cryptocurrency options, alongside our expanding market making business that provides hundreds of millions of dollars to the crypto ecosystem daily. In the midst of a challenging global economy, the team has rapidly expanded, 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. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and graduated from Princeton University with an AB in Physics. He is admitted to practice law in New York.
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 extensive 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. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from University of Houston Law Center and a Master of Business Administration degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Trey’s energy market knowledge and leadership background in financial services will bring unparalleled experience to our company and customers,” noted GSR Co-Founder Richard Rosenblum. “We have often recognized similarities between digital assets and traditional energy markets when it comes to risk management and product development, and look forward to drawing on Trey’s knowledge as we continue to grow our service and product offerings.”
“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.”