Our team is led by Michael L. Lerch (our Chairman) and Richard Chisholm (our Chief Executive Officer), who have worked together for over 15 years and hold, respectively, the Chief Investment Officer and Chief Executive Officer positions at Evolution Capital Management LLC (“ECM”), a US based investment manager that is a member of the Evolution Financial Group (“Evolution”). Evolution operates an integrated group of financial services businesses that include Evolution Japan Securities Co. Ltd. (“EJS”), a boutique investment bank and regulated securities broker based in Japan.
Michael L. Lerch
Chairman of the Board
Michael L. Lerch has served as our Chairman and as a member of our board of directors since November 2020. He has over 25 years of investment experience, specializing in capital markets and structured finance. Mr. Lerch is the Chief Investment Officer of ECM, serves in a similar role with Evolution, and is a director of various private funds and investment vehicles managed by ECM. Prior to founding ECM in 2002, he spent nearly a decade working for global investment banks in senior management and trading positions. Mr. Lerch graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Politics. He was selected to serve as Chairman of our Board due to his 25-year career of investing in public and private markets, his experience managing capital for some of the world’s largest investors, and his current experience managing multiple investment teams and platforms within Evolution.
Richard G. Chisholm
Chief Executive Officer
Richard Chisholm has served as our Chief Executive Officer and as a member of our board of directors since November 2020. Mr. Chisholm is the Chief Executive Officer of ECM, serves in a similar role for Evolution, and is a director of various private funds and investment vehicles managed by ECM. Mr. Chisholm has been integrally involved in all facets of Evolution’s business and has spearheaded Evolution’s private equity transactions. Prior to joining ECM in 2005, Mr. Chisholm spent nearly a decade as “outside general counsel” to investment funds and private and public companies both domestically as well as in Asia with law firms such as Latham & Watkins and The Venture Law Group. Mr. Chisholm received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Michigan and Juris Doctor from The University of California, Hastings, cum laude, where he was a member of the Hastings Law Review. Mr. Chisholm was selected to serve on our board of directors due to his considerable business leadership roles, mergers and acquisitions experience, and his extensive legal background in transaction structuring and documentation.
Mr. Sausto has served as a Managing Director of ECM since May 2021 where he leads and supports various strategic projects related to the business. Prior to joining ECM in 2021, Mr. Sausto owned and managed the distribution for Onkyo and Pioneer audio products in the Americas. Before that, from January 2008 to September 2017, Jason spent nearly a decade running various businesses for Onkyo Corporation, a Japanese consumer electronics manufacturer, in China and Southeast Asia and served on the Board of Directors for its public entity in Japan. He was also a founder and the CEO for Booking.com’s Japan business out of Tokyo. Mr. Sausto holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Communications from the University of Missouri Columbia, a Master of Business Administration from INSEAD and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Affairs from Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Adrian J. Brindle
Chief Financial Officer
Adrian Brindle has served as our Chief Financial Officer since November 2020. Mr. Brindle has served as part of the senior management team of Evolution since May 2004. In his current role as Chief Financial Officer of Evolution, he has oversight over Evolution’s finance and operations groups around the world and serves as a director of two regulated Evolution entities in Japan, Evolution Japan Asset Management Co. Ltd. and EJS. Prior to joining Evolution, Mr. Brindle 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. Mr. Brindle holds a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Economics and Japanese Studies from The University of Sheffield with a First Class BA (Hons).
Malcolm F. MacLean IV
Malcolm F. MacLean IV has been one of our independent directors since February 2021. Mr. MacLean is the Founder, Managing Partner and Director of Star Asia Group, an investment management firm with offices in Tokyo and the U.S. Mr. MacLean is responsible for the day-to-day investment activities at Star Asia Group as co-Chair of its Investment Committee. Since its inception in December 2006, Star Asia Group and its affiliates have acquired over $8 billion of real estate and real estate related assets. Mr. MacLean is also the co-Founder of Taurus Capital Partners LLC, a privately held family office, which makes opportunistic investments in public and private companies, partnerships and other structured vehicles. Mr. MacLean has over 28 years of experience in the global investment business with a focus on the acquisition of private and public real estate debt and equity securities and direct property throughout Japan and non-Japan Asia, the United States and Europe, having structured and consummated over $20 billion of investments over his career. In addition, Mr. MacLean has extensive experience as lead manager in originating, structuring and executing equity, debt and M&A transactions for public and private real estate companies globally having advised in and completed transactions totaling in excess of $15 billion while an investment banker for eight years (1992-1999). Mr. MacLean holds a B.A. in Economics and Law from Trinity College. Mr. MacLean was selected to serve on our board of directors for his extensive investment and deal structuring experience as well as his track record of investing in the U.S. and Japan.
Robert J. Valentine
Robert J. Valentine has been one of our independent directors since February 2021. Since June 2013, Mr. Valentine has served as the Executive Director of Athletics for Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, USA. Mr. Valentine spent ten seasons in Major League Baseball, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, California Angels, New York Mets and Seattle Mariners during which time he played every position but pitcher. After this playing career, Mr. Valentine became a manager with terms as a manager of the Texas Rangers, New York Mets and Boston Red Sox with a total of 1,186 major league managerial victories. Mr. Valentine has also spent eight seasons coaching professional baseball in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines, a term that included the 2005 Japan Series Championship. Since 2020, Mr. Valentine has served on the board of directors of Revolution Co., Ltd. (TYO: 8894), a publicly listed real estate company affiliated with Mr. Lerch. Mr. Valentine attended the University of Southern California. Mr. Valentine was selected to serve on our board of directors due to his business accomplishments in the U.S. and Japan.
Kazuko Miyashita has been one of our directors since February 2021. Ms. Miyashita has substantial experience in finance and organizational management. She has served as the head of finance of numerous Evolution related business. These include Evolution Japan Asset Management Co. Ltd., where she has served as the head of finance and head of administration since January 2014, and as representative director since February 2020. From May 2012 to January 2018, Ms. Miyashita was the head of finance of eWarrant Japan Securities K.K., a former Evolution portfolio company. Ms. Miyashita joined Evolution in 2007, as the Senior Director of Evolution Japan Advisors K.K. Prior to joining Evolution, Ms. Miyashita accumulated over a decade of experience in the finance divisions of various private asset managers and international investments banks such as Lehman Brothers and Societe General. She received a B.A. in History from Keio University. Ms. Miyashita was selected to serve on our board of directors for her considerable expertise in corporate finance, securities transactions, and management.
Shigeo Kashiwagi has been one of our independent directors since February 2021. Beginning in August 2017, Mr. Kashiwagi has served as an independent non-executive director of BuySell Technologies Company Ltd. (TYO:7685), and as a senior advisor to EJS. Mr. Kashiwagi has held numerous positions at the International Monetary Fund (the “IMF”), most recently representing the government of Japan as an executive director of the IMF from May 2004 to June 2007. In a career spanning multiple decades with the Ministry of Finance of Japan, Mr. Kashiwagi held such positions as the director-general of the Tokai Regional Finance Bureau, director of the Coordination Division of the Financial System Planning Bureau, and director of the Securities Market Division of the Securities Bureau. From June 2007 to March 2019, Mr. Kashiwagi taught graduate and undergraduate courses on domestic and international economics and economic policy making at Keio University. He has been a member of the Public Interest Oversight Board, the international body that oversees the standard setting process for global auditing standards, since March 2017. From June 2009 to June 2017, Mr. Kashiwagi was an independent non-executive director of Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings Company Ltd. (TYO: 8616), where he at times served as a member of the audit and supervisory committee and advisory committee on nominations and compensation. Mr. Kashiwagi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Keio University and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University. Mr. Kashiwagi was selected to serve on our board of directors for his extensive experience as a policy maker in the Japanese government, his background as an independent non-executive board member of Japanese publicly listed companies, and his standing in international organizations.
Takahiro Fushimi has been one of our independent directors since February 2021. Since October 2016, Mr. Fushimi has been an executive director of C4 Capital for New Commons, a firm that focuses on social impact investing. In January 2020, Mr. Fushimi founded ICHI Commons Co. Ltd., a Japanese start-up that aims to use location-based technology to bring individuals and organizations together to address societal issues and is its representative director. From April 2014 to September 2016, Mr. Fushimi was a member of the financial management program of General Electric Company’s (NYSE: GE) operations in Japan. From 2017 to 2019, he was a Vice President at EJS. Mr. Fushimi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Law from Keio University. He was selected to join the board of directors for his notable insight into the technology industry and ties with private technology companies and leading organizations in Japan.