James Simons, seen here in December 2011, founded Renaissance Technologies.  

James Simons, seen here in December 2011, founded Renaissance Technologies.   Credit: Randee Daddona

James Simons, the former Stony Brook University academic who led a mathematics-driven revolution on Wall Street, reportedly has given up the chairman's post at his hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies LLC.

Peter Brown, chief executive of the East Setauket hedge fund, became chairman as of Jan. 1, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal.

A call to the hedge fund's Manhattan office was not immediately returned.

Simons, 82, worked for the U.S. government as a codebreaker during the Cold War and was chairman of the Stony Brook University mathematics department from 1968 to 1976.

He left academia and founded the hedge fund in 1982, hiring mathematicians and computer scientists who applied innovative algorithms and high-speed trading to money management.

In the process, Simons became a billionaire and the Medallion fund became one of the most successful investment vehicles in history.

Forbes estimates the East Setauket resident's current wealth at $23.5 billion, making him the 36th richest person on the planet.

In 2017, Simons ousted then-co-CEO Robert Mercer following controversy about Mercer's support for right-wing news outlet Breitbart News and Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy. Simons, meanwhile, has been a donor to Democratic candidates and political action committees.

Simons stepped down as CEO of Renaissance Technologies in 2010 and in recent years has turned his attention to the Simons Foundation, a nonprofit that supports and conducts basic science research, tackling problems such as the origins of life.

The Flatiron Institute was founded by the Simons Foundation to apply advanced computation and data analysis to help crack the same scientific mysteries.

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