Former Gemini Europe chief Julian Sawyer takes the reins as CEO at Bitstamp

Serial fintech executive Julian Sawyer has taken a new role as chief executive of Luxembourg-based crypto exchange Bitstamp.

Sawyer was previously at Gemini, which he joined in December 2019 to lead its European expansion. Gemini Europe Services Ltd was able to achieve registration by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority as a regulated crypto asset business in August 2020, but by that time, Sawyer had quietly left the company.

He now takes over as head of one of the world’s longest-running crypto exchanges. Bitstamp, which was founded back in 2011 by Nejc Kodrič, caters to more than four million individual customers as well as a number of institutional partners.

Sawyer told the Block that he hadn’t been looking to move jobs, but that headhunters contacted him with “a superb personal opportunity: to be CEO of a global company”.

Bitstamp was acquired by the Belgian private equity firm NXMH in October 2018. The investor has since been enhancing the management team, according to Sawyer. 

Kodrič, who helped hire Sawyer, will take a new role advising the company’s board of directors.

“After much thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bitstamp has already grown beyond what I envisioned it would become and it is time for someone else to expand this vision further,” said Kodrič in a statement.

Prior to getting into the crypto industry, Sawyer had served as a co-founder and chief operating officer of Starling Bank, the British neo bank with 1.7 million customers. 

His tenure at Bitstamp begins at a moment when corporate adoption of digital assets appears to be gaining momentum. “I think there are more and more organizations who are looking at these assets and understanding where and the role that those assets play in the organization,” said Sawyer.