Wall Street and tennis courts all over the world draws an interesting connection. Let highlights successful tennis players who have made the transition as ex-athletes to the competitive world of high finance. Something about the intense, high energy game and for some, business of tennis, has spurred them into the demanding worlds of investment banking and capital management.
1) Richey Renenberg. He works in investor relations at Taconic Capitol Advisors, a Manhattan-based Hedge Fund, that handles multiple billions in investments. It is a fast-paced and competitive business that serves this former intercollegiate and professional athlete well. Known for his hard-charging approach and desire to always improve on the tennis court, Renenberg has successfully transferred his on-court skills to the world of marketing high finance.
Renenberg studied economics and finance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and was a three-time All American and the number one college tennis player in 1987. Over the 13 years he spent in professional tennis, along with playing for the U.S. in the Olympics and in Davis Cup competitions, he had wins over John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Pete Sampras, just to name a handful of top players. His highest singles ranking was in 1991, when he reached No. 20 in the ATP. Renenberg and his partner, Jim Grabb, were among the top men’s teams in the early 90’s, winning the U.S. Open Doubles title in 1992, and losing in the finals in Wimbledon to McEnroe and his partner that same year.
Renenberg re-teamed up with his former doubles tennis partner Grabb at Taconic, to create a formidable team that clients have grown to trust. Renenberg’s savvy investing strategies and aggressive approach that started on the tennis court, has translated nicely into a successful career in high finance.
2) Pablo Salame. He is the Global Co-Head of the Securities Division at Goldman Sachs.
He is a member of the Management Committee and Co-Chair of the Americas Diversity Committee. The intense training he received at the world renowned Nick Bollettieri IMG Tennis Academy in Sarasota, Florida, and as a two year starter on the Brown University (Providence, RI) varsity tennis team, prepared Salame well for the high finance work he does at Goldman Sachs.
Wins against older, more experienced tennis players, and losses to tennis greats like Boris Becker, created the character that Salame bring to his work. Born in Ecuador, his international flavor and experience has represented him well at leadership positions he held in London, until being named Managing Director in 1999 and Partner in 2000, at the company’s New York City headquarters.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Salame worked for Citibank in Ecuador and New York, in their Global Derivatives and International Corporate Finance divisions. He is active on several boards at Brown University, and supports a number of tennis-related charities.
3) Sam Warburg. He is Vice President in Venture Capital Relationship Management at Silicon Valley Bank Financial Group, based in San Francisco. Their motto is “Banking the world’s most innovative companies,” which helps describe the passion Warburg brings to the table. This former professional tennis player was a four-time All-American while attending Stanford University.
Warburg and his partner won an NCAA doubles championship in 2004, which helped create the team approach he brings to his job at SVB. He has traveled to over 35 countries, adding a great deal of international flavor to his impressive resume. Warburg competed in 14 Grand Slam (Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open) events, and his highest world tennis rankings were 132 in in singles and 117 in doubles. He beat former world number one player and Hall of Famer Pete Sampras twice.
4) Rudolfo Rake. He is the Managing Director in Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley.
Rake played professional tennis for 3 years (1998-2001), graduated from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) summa cum laude, and also studied finance at Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL). He was the #1 singles player for the University of Miami tennis team. He played in the 1997 U.S. Open, and at one time was the #1 ranked junior in the U.S., and # 4 ranked junior under 18 in the world.
Rake retired from professional tennis at the relatively young age of 21, to concentrate all of his efforts on his career in finance. His youth and exuberance made him one of the youngest managing directors at Morgan Stanley at age 32. He handles wealth management like he handled returns of serve: carefully and methodically and with great enthusiasm.
He was ranked as high as No. 320 on the ATP tour, and nailed down big wins over tennis greats like Roger Federer, Taylor Dent and James Blake.
5) Michael Zimmerman. He is the founder and chairman of the board of Prentice Capital.
He has served as a director New York-based private investment firm since 2011. He founded the company in 2005 and has been its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner since its inception. The company manages investments in the retail and consumer sector.
His leadership in finance and entrepreneurial spirit began with his education at Harvard (class of ’92). Zimmerman was the captain of the varsity tennis team, and helped lead the Crimson to four Ivy League Championships. He was a three-time First Team All-Ivy selection in singles, and a four-time First Team All-Ivy selection in doubles. He was named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American in 1991 (doubles), and 1992 (doubles and singles).