Management


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Michael L. Lerch

Founder, President and Global Chief Investment Officer

Michael founded Evolution Financial Group in 2002 with the vision of bringing talented people into an environment that reinforces the ideals of teamwork, discipline and relentless high performance. Under his leadership, Evolution has grown into a portfolio of alternative investment companies employing approximately 500 people across ten global locations.

As President and Founder, Michael is responsible for the general management of our business lines and also acts as Global Chief Investment Officer for all major investment decisions. He serves as Chairman of Evolution’s Global Investment, Risk, and Corporate Social Responsibility Committees. Michael is the principal decision maker in the deployment of Evolution’s capital, with a focus on bespoke financing deals where the firm and its affiliates provide innovative and creative credit solutions for major international corporations. Prior to founding Evolution, Michael spent nearly a decade working for bulge bracket investment banks in a number of senior management and trading positions. Michael graduated from Princeton University in 1993 with a BA in Politics.

 
Richard G. Chisholm

Partner

Richard joined Evolution Financial Group in 2005 and works closely with Michael Lerch in managing the firm. Since joining Evolution, Richard has been integrally involved in all facets of Evolution’s business and has spearheaded Evolution’s private equity transactions in Japan.

Richard is responsible for all legal matters globally and is also involved in the general management of our business lines. Richard serves on Evolution’s Global Investment, Risk and Compliance committees. Prior to joining Evolution, Richard spent nearly a decade as “outside general counsel” to investment funds and private and public companies both domestically in the U.S. as well as in Asia, with particular emphasis on securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. Richard graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Political Science and the University of California, Hastings School of Law with a JD, cum laude, where he was a member of the Hastings Law Review.

 
Adrian J. Brindle

Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operations Officer

Adrian has been a part of the senior management team of the Evolution Group for more than eleven years. In his current role he has global oversight of the Finance and Operations groups around the world. Prior to joining Evolution he spent thirteen years in Japan where he held senior management positions in the equity derivatives business units of several international banks such as JPMorgan Chase, C.I.B.C. and T.D. Group. Adrian graduated from Sheffield University with a First Class BA in Economics & Japanese.

 
Andrew A. Ellner

Senior Managing Director and Member of the Management Committee

Andrew joined in 2015 to serve as the head of client relationship management for the Evolution Financial Group. He is located in New York City, where he is responsible for senior relationship management across all of its businesses. He has over 30 years of experience at Lehman Brothers and managing his own fund, LightBox Capital, building innovative and successful global financial businesses, consistently generating excellent risk adjusted returns regardless of market conditions.  Andrew works with our investors and partners to identify and capitalize on unique business opportunities we are able to source both into and from Japan, as well as from other parts of the globe.  Andrew serves on Evolution’s Global Investment, Risk, and Corporate Social Responsibility Committees.  Andrew received his B.S. with Honors in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania where he majored in Accounting and Finance, and his M.B.A. in Finance at the University of Chicago.

 
Y. Suki Yamamoto

COO / Director of Operations, Evoia Capital

Ms. Yamamoto has over 20 years of experience in the financial industry specializing in operations and product control functions.  Her previous experiences were gained at Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Banc of America Securities, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley.  Under her oversight, Evolution’s control of operations has been elevated to to highly competitive industry standards. Ms. Yamamoto graduated with a BS in Computer Science from Fordham University.

 
Shoji Tsuboyama

Chairman and CEO, Evolution Japan Securities Co., Ltd.

Mr. Tsuboyama joined Evolution Financial Group in September 2016 to serve as Chairman and CEO of Evolution Japan Securities, Co., Ltd., spearheading the group’s investment banking business in Japan. He has over 25 years’ experience in the financial industry, uniquely cutting across issuer and investor side businesses. During his 20-year tenure at UBS, initially in Fixed Income and later in Investment Banking, he oversaw financing origination in both public and private capital markets as well as led numerous structured special-situation financings with award-winning innovation. Prior to UBS, he worked at Salomon Brothers in Sales and Trading area in charge of marketing a broad range of financial products, from high-yield bonds to equity derivatives. He graduated from University of Tokyo (BA) and earned his MBA at Harvard Business School.

 
Philippe Devesa

Chief Investment Officer, Evolution Japan Asset Management

As Chief Investment Officer and Chief Risk Management Officer of Evolution Japan Asset Management in Tokyo, Philippe brings a focus on risk management to the core of each investment model and decision, in line with the philosophy of the firm since its inception. Under his supervision, Evolution has developed numerous trading strategies across Asian markets and asset classes while developing best-in-class risk management systems and procedures. Philippe joined Evolution in 2002, and through his postings in several of the Evolution locations, in Honolulu, Tokyo and Hong Kong, he has ensured that the investment philosophy of the firm stays the same across all offices. Prior to joining Evolution, Philippe spent several years in Equity and Equity Derivatives Trading and Risk Management divisions of Credit Agricole Indosuez in Hong Kong and Tokyo. Philippe graduated in 1996 from Telecom Paris Tech.

 
John C. Fou

Chairman and CEO, Evolution Japan Co., Ltd.
Representative Director, eWarrant Japan Securities

John comes from a background of 25 years in finance in Japan and Asia.  His knowledge spans from derivatives to private equity. Through his experiences he has built, purchased, and managed various businesses.  Notably, he has run businesses at global investment banks, built a fund business, and made various acquisitions.  Through these roles he has established an extensive network. He currently serves as CEO of Evolution Japan Co., Ltd.  John graduated from with a BA degree in Economics from Princeton University.

 
Michael B. Green

Managing Director, Head of Asian Trading

As Head of Asian Trading, Michael brings a wealth of Asian equity trading experience and risk management to Evolution. Michael’s responsibilities include continuing to build out Evolution’s Asian footprint and trade strategies, as well as managing senior industry relationships in the Asian region. With experience in strategies ranging from high frequency quantitative trading to deep-value fundamental, Michael will further enhance infrastructural and system capabilities of the firm whilst building the firms relationship network to the industry.

Prior to joining Evolution, Michael held senior APAC management and Board of Director positions for two decades at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch in both Japan and Hong Kong. Michael is a graduate of the University of Auckland, with a Bachelor of Commerce degree and was a New Zealand- Japan Business Scholarship recipient.

 
Shaun M. Lawson

Representative Director, Evolution Research Institute
Director, Evolution Japan
Director, eWarrant Japan Securities

Shaun is a 32-year Japan veteran, with 23 years in finance. He is in the senior management of several of the Evolution’s companies, and previously headed our investment advisory company, Evolution Japan Advisors. Shaun was responsible for Japan prime brokerage sales and managed the Asian client connectivity business of Merrill Lynch Japan Securities, and has also been associated with hedge funds as general manager and financial analyst for onshore fund servicing companies. Shaun’s past finance roles have spanned alternative investment consulting, compliance, front-office technology development, portfolio and structured product quantitative analysis, equity program trading, and business management at Credit Suisse First Boston, Lehman Brothers Japan, NASDAQ Japan, and others. Before entering finance, he was a neural network researcher at Recruit Co. Ltd.’s Institute for Supercomputing Research, and is a graduate of International Christian University in Tokyo, with a B.A. in Social Science.

 
Stephanie J. Keay

Global Head of Human Resources

Stephanie is responsible for leading Evolution’s Human Resources across all of our global companies and employees.  She has nearly 20 years of human resources functional and leadership experience in the finance industry and energy sector.  Prior to joining Evolution in 2012, Stephanie ran a consultancy providing HR strategic advice on mergers and acquisitions, organization restructuring and effectiveness, leadership development, and employee relations matters.  Additionally, she held senior HR leadership roles at Nomura Securities and Lehman Brothers including Managing Director, Global Head of Talent and Head of Human Resources.  From 1994 until 2006, Stephanie was in HR management at General Electric’s Commercial Finance and Energy businesses and also worked in Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Washington, DC office.  She graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Political Science.

 
Cyrus P. Pirasteh

Managing Director, Strategic Ventures

As Managing Director based in our Santa Monica offices, Cyrus brings strategic vision and insight to Evolution’s global activities with a focus on our venture and private equity activities.  His experience managing derivatives trading desks for Goldman Sachs and building the first institutional Private Shares business at Wedbush Securities gives him a unique skill set bridging technology and finance. Cyrus worked for Goldman in both New York and Tokyo from 1993 to 2001, and left to start a hedge fund based in San Francisco and Tokyo. In 2004, he joined former Goldman alums in Los Angeles to launch Empyrean Capital where he was Head of Trading and Risk Management.  Cyrus later joined Wedbush Securities in 2010 where he served on the Management Committee as Head of Trading, Technology and Operations, and held senior roles including Managing Director of Market Strategies and Head of Private Shares.  Cyrus received a joint MA/BA in Economics from Yale University in 1993.

 
Conor D. Neu

Managing Director, Evolution Capital Management

As the founder and head of a series of private income funds within Evolution, Conor manages a team who invest in consumer and small business loans. Conor has more than twelve years of experience trading markets and led a great amount of technology integration into the investment process at Evolution. Conor joined Evolution at inception in 2002 and has played an integral role in building out several of the firm’s arbitrage, event driven and volatility strategies that cover markets across Asia. Conor graduated with a B.S.E. in Computer Science from Princeton University in 2002, where he was a member of the basketball team.

 
Xavier Arnaudo

Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Investing Initiatives

In his capacity as head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact Investing Initiatives, Xavier oversees Evolution’s community outreach programs and designs innovative engagement initiatives to mobilize finance towards social innovation and influence positive social change in the communities and markets where Evolution operates.  Xavier has close to 20 years capital markets experience building and managing businesses at the equity derivatives desks of various investment banks in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and London, servicing hedge funds and institutional clients under a number of roles (Hedge fund consulting, connectivity solutions, flow derivatives, equity finance) across assets.  Most recently, he was Executive Director at BNP Paribas, managing prime brokerage and equity finance sales in Asia.

Xavier holds a master in economics from Sciences Po Paris (97’), a JD in Law from University of Paris Pantheon Sorbonne (97’) and completed the inaugural executive education Creating Shared Value program at Harvard Business School and the Oxford University Said Business School Impact Investing Program (14’).

 
Daniel A. Shireman

President and Representative Director, Evolution Japan Securities

As the President of Evolution Japan Securities (EJS), Dan is focused on building Japan’s premier boutique investment bank.  EJS creates tailor-made corporate financing solutions through two specialty teams, and also has a retail group that services the stock trading needs for individual and corporate clients.

Before joining Evolution, Dan had a long career in structured finance as a securitization specialist in addition to many years in senior management roles for Japanese securities companies.   Dan was head of the Asian Financial Analytics and Structured Transactions Group at Bear Stearns.   Later, at Shinsei Bank, Dan served as Head of the Capital Markets Division with oversight over many business subsidiaries including Shinsei Securities, where his team issued more than 2.8 trillion Yen of securitization deals and received twenty Securitization industry awards.  Dan was also Deputy Head of the Retail Group of Aozora Bank and a Board Member of Aozora Securities.

 
David B. Scott

Senior Executive Director and Board Member, Evolution Japan Securities

David joined Evolution Financial Group in 2005 after having successfully led JPMorgan Fleming Tokyo’s Mid-Small Equities investment team managing $5 billion in dedicated assets. A recognized expert on Japan equities, Mr. Scott has made well over 3,000 on-site research visits with listed firms to evaluate business models and investigate investment worthiness during his 20 years of financial markets experience. David leverages these extensive market contacts to lead the group’s equity solutions business based in Tokyo, which has completed multiple billions of debt, equity and hybrid financings under his leadership.

 
Makoto Ohki

Senior Managing Director, Corporate Solutions Group, Evolution Japan Securities

As Head of the Corporate Solutions Group of Evolution Japan Securities, Mr. Ohki provides tailor-made financial solutions across a wide range of asset classes and products to Japanese corporate clients.  Before joining Evolution in September 2016, he worked for UBS for 15 years in Investment Banking, where he originated numerous financing transactions in public and private capital markets, as well as led M&A transactions for Japanese corporate clients and financial institutions.  Prior to UBS, he engaged in auditing, consulting, and transaction advisory services at KPMG.  He received his undergraduate and Master’s degree from Keio University and is qualified as a Certified Public Accountant (Japan).

 
Andrew Fried

Managing Director, Equity Solutions Group, Evolution Japan Securities

Mr. Fried is a Managing Director for the Equity Solutions Group focusing on Convertibles/Equity-Linked Securities strategy. Beginning his career at Evolution Capital Management in 2002, he possesses extensive experience in creating derivative and equity trading desks around the pan-Asian region. He excelled in trading Japanese index derivatives before making the transition in 2004 to running an active Korean Index derivative desk. In 2005 while based in Australia, he built and managed an Australian single stock volatility desk. Since 2006, he is responsible for trading and structuring for the structured derivatives and principal transactions business for the pan-Asian region. He graduated from Harvard University with an A.B. in Economics.

 
Yoshihiro Imamura

Managing Director, Equity Solutions Group, Evolution Japan Securities

As a head of the Equity Solutions Group of Evolution Japan Securities, Yoshi manages a team which originates and structures equity financings for Japanese corporate clients.  Yoshi has over 18 years of experience in Japanese equity markets. Yoshi has been a founder and leader within Evolution’s structuring and investment banking technology since he joined in March 2015.  Prior to Evolution, Yoshi worked for Deutsche Bank Tokyo (2006-2015), AIG Financial Products Tokyo (2000-2006), Citibank Tokyo (1998-2000) and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Tokyo (1992-1998).  Yoshi received his license as Japanese Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1992.

 
Gerald Tsai

General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Evolution Capital Management LLC

Jerry has over 15 years of legal and compliance experience with an emphasis on the representation of investment advisers and private funds.  Before joining Evolution, he held senior legal and management positions at various investment advisers including American Realty Advisers and Coast Asset Management, where he served as General Counsel.  He began his legal career as a transactional associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP.  He received his J.D. from New York University School of Law, and his B.S. in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.  He is admitted to practice law in the state of California.

 
Gary Hopkinson

Managing Director

Gary joined Evolution Financial Group in January 2014 in Japan and is currently based out of our United States offices as Managing Director. Since joining Evolution, Gary has been integrally involved in managing Evolution’s businesses based in Japan and the United States.

Prior to joining Evolution, Gary was Country Head of CLSA Japan, one of Asia’s largest investment banks where he managed all front, middle and back office operations, including management of the firm’s global institutional client relationships.

Gary graduated in 2005 from the University of Leeds with a BSc in Advanced Materials Engineering.

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