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The 2017 Tech 40: Peter Brown & Robert Mercer

< The 2017 Tech 40
27. Peter Brown &
Robert MercerCo–Chief Executive OfficersRenaissance TechnologiesLast 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 40Click below to view profiles
1. Adena FriedmanNASDAQ2. Catherine BessantBank of
America Corp.3. Robert GoldsteinBlackRock4. Jeffrey SprecherIntercontinental Exchange5. Lance UgglaIHS Markit
6. Shawn Edwards & Vlad KliatchkoBloomberg7. David CraigThomson Reuters8. Michael SpencerNEX Group9. Don CallahanCitigroup10. Elisha WieselGoldman Sachs Group
11. Michael BodsonDepository Trust & Clearing Corp.12. Terrence DuffyCME Group13. Charles LiHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing14. Sean BelkaFidelity Investments15. Chris ConcannonCBOE Holdings
16. Guy ChiarelloFirst Data Corp.17. Steven LieblichCitadel18. David RutterR3CEV19. Blythe MastersDigital Asset Holdings20. Alfred SpectorTwo Sigma Investments
21. Neil KatzD.E. Shaw Group22. Lee OleskyTradeweb Markets23. Richard McVeyMarketAxess Holdings24. David GledhillDBS Bank25. Seth MerrinLiquidnet Holdings
26. Antoine ShagouryState Street Corp.27. Peter Brown &
Robert Mercer
Renaissance Technologies28. Lou EcclestonTMX Group29. Peter CherecwichNorthern Trust Corp.30. Mike ChinnS&P Global Market Intelligence
31. Chris CorradoLondon Stock Exchange Group32. Neal PawarAQR Capital Management33. Gary NorcrossFidelity National Information Services34. Steven O'HanlonNumerix35. Sebastián CeriaAxioma
36. Brian ConlonFirst Derivatives and Kx Systems37. Tyler KimMaplesFS38. Michael CooperBT Radianz39. Robert SchifelliteBroadridge Financial Solutions40. Jim MinnickeVestment