RenTech Founder Jim Simons “Urged” CEO Mercer To Resign Over His Support For Breitbart
Last week, the financial world was shaken when billionaire Robert Mercer, co-CEO of RenTec which is arguably the world’s most profitable and secretive hedge fund, announced he was quitting on Jan 1, 2018. While the prominent Trump and Bannon supporter did not reveal the reason behind his departure, he did make it clear that he does not agree with everything Steve Bannon does and say, and made it very clear that he is especially disappointed with outspoken conservative media personality, Milo Yiannopoulos, whom he threw under the proverbial bus saying “actions by Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate.”
Now, in a follow up report from Bloomberg, it has emerged that Mercer did not quit RenTec out of his own volition, but was instead pushed out by Rentec’s retired founder, and prominent Democrat and Clinton supporter, Jim Simmons. According to Bloomberg, Simons urged Robert Mercer “to step down from his role as co-chief executive officer over concerns that his backing of Breitbart News was hurting morale at the world’s most profitable hedge fund.”
Which is another way of saying that Mercer’s support of Trump’s policies, Steve Bannon (not to mention monetary investment in Breitbart) cost him his job.
That, perhaps, is not surprising: after all, in recent months, Mercer’s personal political projects dragged what has otherwise been the world’s most secretive firm into the national spotlight. As a result, a backlash from RenTec’s founder, and ideological opposite of Mercer was to be expected. Simons, who is a major donor to Democratic causes, negotiated Mercer’s move from top executive to researcher at the computer-driven firm over the past three months, one of the people said. Mercer’s role will change on Jan.
Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, are prominent Republican donors and patrons of Stephen Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News, a website that backs the nationalist movement that helped elect President Donald Trump.
“I appreciated Bob’s willingness to take this step,” Simons said Monday night while attending a fundraiser for the New York Public Library.
While Simons had never spoken publicly about Mercer’s political views, he has expressed his own opinions about Trump. At a speech in New York City in late October, Simons said “I think it’s basically terrible that we have a president remotely like our current president. We’ve had some doozies but never of that caliber.”
As Bloomberg adds, Mercer had become over the past year a lightning rod for activists. One group had begun targeting Renaissance Technologies’ investors to encourage them to fire the money manager.
Simons was supposedly less concerned about an investor revolt than he was about employee morale and recruitment, according to one of the people. That is explainable: in the past month, RenTech received a net $1 billion in inflows this month.
In a memo sent last week to employees to announce his resignation as co-CEO and member of the board, Mercer said he sold his stake in Breitbart News to his daughters. He also said that he was “mistaken to have supported” Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart writer, and was severing ties with him because statements by Yiannopoulos have caused “pain and divisiveness.”