Bitcoin exchange Gemini has appointed challenger bank Starling co-founder Julian Sawyer as managing director of its UK and Europe branch. 

According to Gemini, Sawyer will oversee its strategic vision across the region. In particular, he will be responsible for shaping this strategy, developing new products and leading business operations. 

Tyler Winklevoss, CEO of Gemini, said, “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.

“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.”

Sawyer has spent more than 20 years working for high-growth financial services organisations. After helping to create Starling Bank, he worked there as its chief operating officer for four years, expanding the bank’s business operations, including payment systems, card operations and customer services. 

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He helped the challenger bank to double its customer base in eight months, launch the Euro Account and become the first mobile bank to provide services through the Post Office. 

Gemini added that Sawyer will manage hiring, as it looks to expand its physical presence across the continent. He’ll work from London and report to Gemini president Cameron Winklevoss.

He’s the latest senior figure to join Gemini, which is currently undergoing a rapid employment drive. Over the past few months, the firm has appointed Noah Perlman as chief compliance officer, David Damato as chief security officer, Sydney Schaub as general Counsel, Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto as managing director of operations and Robert Cornish as chief technology officer.

Overall, Gemini employs over 200 people and is quietly expanding across the world. It currently operates in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Australia.