Simons elects Brown as Renaissance board chairman after mixed 2020 By Reuters

© Reuters.

© Reuters.

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss BOSTON (Reuters) – Billionaire investor James Simons will step down as president of Renaissance Technologies but will remain on the board of the $ 60 billion hedge fund he founded nearly 40 years ago. Simons told investors in late 2020, a year of mixed returns for the company, that he would hand over the reins as chairman of the board to Peter Brown, who has been running the company as sole CEO since 2017. The move marked a change after Simons appointed his son, Nathaniel, co-chair of the board in January 2020. James and Nathaniel Simons will remain as directors of the board. “In a nutshell, I think the time has come – this transition has taken many years to complete and Peter Brown, our incoming president, is more than willing to take responsibility,” Simons wrote in the letter, seen by Reuters. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the move. Simons, who will turn 83 this year, is a former math teacher and code breaker who made Renaissance one of the most successful hedge funds in the world since its launch in 1982. Simons retired and resigned as CEO in 2010, handing over to Brown and Robert Mercer, who were co-CEOs until 2017. Mercer resigned amid controversy over his strong support for Donald Trump and the Breitbart News outlet. Simons, whose net worth was estimated at $ 23.5 billion in 2020 by Forbes, donated millions to elect Joe Biden as president. Investors have been drawn to quant funds like Renaissance, where computers instead of star stock pickers make the allocations, for years. But in 2020, returns at Renaissance were mixed. His Medallion Fund, available only to Renaissance initiates, returned 76%. But its Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund, the oldest portfolio available to foreigners that launched in 2005, fell nearly 20%, said a person familiar with the numbers. Simons acknowledged the returns in his letter, writing: “I know it has been a difficult year and that Renaissance has been through difficult times before, but I still believe in our processes and our people. I remain fully committed to our investors, our employees, already our firm, and I’m going to step down as president because I think that’s the best thing for the firm. ”

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