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The 2017 Tech 40: Peter Brown & Robert Mercer

27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Co–Chief Executive Officers
Renaissance Technologies
Last year: PNR

Last fall a Bloomberg story calling hedge fund firm Renaissance Technologies "the blackest box in all of finance" quoted MIT Sloan School of Management finance professor Andrew Lo as saying the firm is "the commercial version of the Manhattan Project." Lo also said the 300-employee, $48 billion firm is "the pinnacle of quant investing." Both descriptions are apt.

Founded in 1982 by mathematician and former intelligence-community codebreaker James Simons, Renaissance rose to fame despite its unstinting secrecy thanks to the outsize returns of its Medallion Fund, long closed to outside investors. The fund generated annualized returns of nearly 80 percent, before fees, from its inception in 1988 through late 2016, according to Bloomberg. Simons retired in 2009 but remains non-executive chair; today the firm is run by co-CEOs Peter Brown and Robert Mercer, whom Simons recruited in the 1990s out of IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Both Brown, 62, and Mercer, 71, maintain low profiles, though Mercer's has risen in recent years, particularly after he emerged as an active supporter of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

In a rare public appearance in 2014, Mercer, accepting an award, described himself as "simply a computer programmer." He added that in nearly 50 years of coding, he has "taken great pleasure in writing programs that do remarkable things."

The 2017 Tech 40
1. Adena Friedman
2. Catherine Bessant
Bank of
America Corp.
3. Robert Goldstein
4. Jeffrey Sprecher
Intercontinental Exchange
5. Lance Uggla
IHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad Kliatchko
7. David Craig
Thomson Reuters
8. Michael Spencer
NEX Group
9. Don Callahan
10. Elisha Wiesel
Goldman Sachs Group
11. Michael Bodson
Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.
12. Terrence Duffy
CME Group
13. Charles Li
Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing
14. Sean Belka
Fidelity Investments
15. Chris Concannon
CBOE Holdings
16. Guy Chiarello
First Data Corp.
17. Steven Lieblich
18. David Rutter
19. Blythe Masters
Digital Asset Holdings
20. Alfred Spector
Two Sigma Investments
21. Neil Katz
D.E. Shaw Group
22. Lee Olesky
Tradeweb Markets
23. Richard McVey
MarketAxess Holdings
24. David Gledhill
DBS Bank
25. Seth Merrin
Liquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine Shagoury
State Street Corp.
27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies
28. Lou Eccleston
TMX Group
29. Peter Cherecwich
Northern Trust Corp.
30. Mike Chinn
S&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris Corrado
London Stock Exchange Group
32. Neal Pawar
AQR Capital Management
33. Gary Norcross
Fidelity National Information Services
34. Steven O'Hanlon
35. Sebastián Ceria
36. Brian Conlon
First Derivatives and Kx Systems
37. Tyler Kim
38. Michael Cooper
BT Radianz
39. Robert Schifellite
Broadridge Financial Solutions
40. Jim Minnick

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