Former Risk Officer of JPMorgan's Highbridge Moves to AI Startup

Jeff Holman, the former chief risk officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s hedge-fund business, Highbridge Capital Management, is heading to artificial-intelligence startup Sentient Technologies.

Holman will become Sentient’s chief investment officer, overseeing its trading and investment arm, the San Francisco-based company announced Wednesday in a statement. He will also work with his former employer on an existing project with the startup to explore how Sentient’s technology can be applied to finance and trading systems.

"This year is a year where we’re transitioning from a technology company to a product company," Sentient’s Chief Executive Officer Antoine Blondeau said in an interview. Holman’s expertise will help the company hone its technology into products for the financial industry, he said.

"We feel that the technology has matured, it’s proven, it works in terms of clearly making a difference against anything that is out there," Blondeau said.

The Highbridge-Sentient collaboration fits a trend within finance as traditional firms look to tap into advances in computer science and artificial intelligence, hoping to discern profitable patterns from vast amounts of data. Sentient makes computer systems that generate trillions of software programs in a manner inspired by evolution to solve problems in financial, e-commerce, and other applications. The company said it has raised $143 million to date.

"We thank Jeff for his contributions to institutionalizing and expanding Highbridge’s risk management processes during his seven years at the firm,” said Mike Geller, a spokesman for Highbridge at Edelman. Max Roberts, a senior member of Highbridge’s risk team, replaced Holman as chief risk officer earlier this month.

Sentient also hired Andy Narayanan, International Business Machines Corp.’s executive director of product strategy for its AI "Watson" division, as a vice president of visual intelligence.

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