Joyce leaving Knight after steering firm from meltdown to merger

Boosting Profits

Knight hired Joyce, 58, just as regulations that had concentrated trading in U.S. stocks on the biggest venues were changing to promote competition. Joyce boosted profit and sales by expanding the market-making business and pushing it toward electronic trading, relying on computers that could execute transactions more cheaply than humans on the floor of the 220- year-old Big Board.

Knight was founded in 1995 and grew during the bull market of the late 1990s into one of the biggest traders of technology stocks. It hired Joyce in May 2002 after annual revenue plunged 46% during the prior year. It had 1,423 employees at the end of 2011, according to a regulatory filing, growing through more than 15 mergers and acquisitions since 2000.

Joyce expanded the firm’s market-making business and taking advantage of regulations that spread trading across more than 50 venues including electronic communications networks and dark pools. Revenue reached a record $1.36 billion in 2011, more than doubling in nine years, while earnings increased to $115.6 million.

Massachusetts Native

Joyce, known as TJ, grew up in Weymouth, Massachusetts, where his father worked as a lineman at Boston Edison, and his mother was a homemaker. He graduated from Harvard College in 1977 with a degree in economics. At Harvard, he was captain of the baseball team and a linebacker in football, earning him induction into the college’s athletic hall of fame.

He serves on the board of directors of Special Olympics of Connecticut and Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. He joined the Ronald McDonald House New York board of directors in October 2010, according to Knight’s website.

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