In what may be the biggest news of the morning, Bloomberg and the NYT report that prominent conservative billionaire investor, Trump campaign supporter and patron of Steve Bannon, Robert Mercer, is stepping down as co-chief executive and board member of the world's most profitable and secretive hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, effective January 1, 2018. Mercer announced the upcoming departure in a letter sent to investors on Thursday morning.
According to Bloomberg, Peter Brown, 62, will continue as CEO. Mercer, 71, will also leave the board but remain at the company as a member of the technical staff focusing on research work. Mercer and Brown took the co-CEO posts in 2010 after founder and prominent democrat billionaire, James Simons retired.
Mercer, who owns a stake in Breitbart, and has traditionally been a secretive figure, has been dragged into the national spotlight, together with his firm, as a result of his personal political projects.
Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, are prominent Republican donors and patrons of Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Breitbart News and a driving force behind the populist, nationalist wing of the Republican party that carried Donald Trump to the White House.
Mercer’s politics have put him at odds with those of other top figures at Renaissance. Simons, who remains chairman of the Renaissance board, was one of Hillary Clinton’s top financial backers during last year’s election as we reported last year in "Meet The Hedge Fund Puppetmaster Behind The US Presidential Election". Bloomberg also notes that Mercer will also hand over his stake in Breitbart News to his daughter Rebekah, as has been planned for some time. The letter did not disclose a reason for Mr. Mercer’s decision to depart.
And what may be perhaps the most notable part from Mercer's letter, as disclosed by Joshua Green, is the following excerpt from Mercer in which he slams Milo Yiannopoulos and throws the young conservative under the bus: "actions by Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate," perhaps in response to this BuzzFeed article.