It is well-known that Silicon Valley has had success recruiting top graduates, some of whom might have otherwise been snapped up by Wall Street. It’s also no secret that sell-side and buy-side firms alike covet Silicon Valley technologists. Hedge fund giant Citadel has been ramping up its participation in this tug-of-war for talent.
The most recent example is Laszlo Korsos, who has just left a senior position at troubled transportation and tech company Uber, where he worked on its famous surge-pricing algorithm, to join Citadel as a managing director and chief data officer. His mandate is helping the firm to develop innovative ways to strategically manage the massive flow of big data that forms an important component of its investment strategies.
This is not an example of a financial services firm bringing on a Silicon Valley lifer who’s a finance novice. Rather, Korsos has experience at Goldman Sachs and several leading investment management firms, including a previous stint at Citadel. In a way, he’s come full circle.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Korsos worked as a summer analyst at the Blackstone Group while getting a second Bachelor’s degree. He went on to get his MS in computer science, then worked as a summer quant analyst at Nuveen Investments and a lecturer and consultant at Citadel while studying to get his PhD in econometrics and statistics and his MBA in analytic finance simultaneously at the University of Chicago.
After graduating, Korsos worked as a fixed income strategist at Goldman Sachs in New York before Uber lured him to San Francisco, where he founded the Silicon Valley unicorn’s optimization and economics quant team, which he lead for more than three years.
However, rather than return to Citadel’s Chicago headquarters, where he consulted and gave lectures, Korsos moved to New York, where many of the $27bn hedge fund firm’s data scientists are based.
Citadel has made other significant hires recently, including bringing on Colin Lancaster from Balyasny Asset Management to build a new macro trading unit, Marc Harold from UBS to serve as deputy chief compliance officer, Jennifer Pollak, Nick Marino and Helen Ren from struggling hedge fund Folger Hill, Sebastian Barrack from Macquarie as the head of commodities and Eric Felder, the former head of global markets at Barclays, as senior managing director, fundamental strategies.
In addition, last month Tom Zychinski, the former head of fixed income trade execution at Bridgewater Associates, joined Citadel as the head of portfolio analytics and monitoring within its equity quantitative research group in New York. The hedge fund firm turned to Microsoft for the new role of chief AI officer, bringing on Li Deng, who is splitting his time between Seattle, Chicago and New York.
In April, Gil Shaked, a managing director and chief information officer of capital markets for Morgan Stanley Americas, joined Citadel in a senior technology role, rejoining Steve Lielich, Morgan Stanley’s ex-CIO who joined Citadel as chief technology officer last year.
In March, Citadel poached portfolio manager Travis Chmelka from Goldman Sachs, where he was a managing director in equity derivatives trading.
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