Lou Maiuri ’86, an executive vice president at State Street, one of the world’s oldest and largest financial institutions, began his journey from athletics to algorithms in a rather unlikely and unassuming place: a 1980s-era computer lab at AIC. As an ambitious, intellectually curious undergrad with the drive of an athlete and an insatiable appetite for the new, perhaps it’s not surprising that Maiuri gradually shifted his focus from the hockey rink to a career field so cutting-edge, complex, and constantly evolving, its implications and applications wouldn’t be fully appreciated for decades to come. Even Maiuri, whose predictive powers are far greater than most, couldn’t have anticipated where the odyssey would eventually lead.
“I came to AIC to play hockey,” said Maiuri, “and I started out as an accounting major, but I always had an interest in computers, so I switched to information systems management with a concentration in finance. AIC built a computer lab—a mini-frame is what we had then—and not many schools had them. Everything was pretty primitive compared to today, but I was taking programming classes and running the lab, helping other students with their homework. My professor was awesome. He encouraged all of this, got me hooked on it, and then let me run the lab.”
Maiuri references the book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell’s work exploring the factors that contribute to world-class levels of expertise and success, including the now-famous 10,000-Hour Rule.
“I got exposure to computers in the ’80s at AIC when most people didn’t have the untethered access that I had,” said Maiuri. “I would be working in the lab until midnight and all of that immersion was like my own version of Outliers, though I didn’t know it at the time. I also had a little business on the side helping people build databases for their companies. I ended up having my own software company. My undergrad experiences kind of launched and informed my career.”
Maiuri’s career officially began with his first job after college as a programmer for Travelers Insurance. From there he worked in the fixed income and equity investment divisions at Fidelity Investments, and went on to hold top executive positions at Eagle Investment Systems, LLC, a software company he founded with three partners and later sold to BNY Mellon, where he was a member of the Operating Committee and head of the global financial institutions group.
More than two decades ago, Maiuri was vice president of technology at State Street, and today he leads two of the firm’s businesses: State Street Global Markets and State Street Global Exchange, providing research that improves the efficient use of client capital, utilizing sophisticated real-time data, analytics and electronic trading solutions. He is also a member of State Street’s Management Committee, the company’s most senior strategy and policy-making team.
His leadership style is best explained by a question his son once asked him, “Dad, what do you actually do?” Maiuri replied, “I don’t do anything—I get things done through people.
“My role is leading, influencing. I’m like a coach. Can I pick the right players, set the winning strategy, create the right culture, hold them accountable? I like building businesses, building high-performing teams where we work together to solve problems. I get a great deal of satisfaction from that.”
Over the course of his 30-plus year career, Maiuri has seen changes and developments in the cyber-financial fusion that boggle the mind. “The single biggest thing that we see today is that technology is playing such a huge role in most every industry. Bitcoin, for example, can be very disruptive to the financial services industry. The rate and speed of technology change is happening at a far greater speed than I have ever seen. The impact of this change is that some jobs are going away and new jobs are being created. Data is at the core of most every industry and understanding data science and quantitative methods are skills that are imperative in today’s workforce. One of the reasons I’m in the position I’m in is my background in both technology and finance. Having that woven into the very fabric of what I do, that powerful combination makes us agile and effective. The work I do is exciting and hard. Just when you think you’ve ‘got it,’ it can be disrupted by someone or some event.”
Maiuri is up at 4:30 a.m. every morning, off to the gym, and in the office by 6 a.m., checking in with his teams around the globe. From dawn to dusk he is in non-stop meetings with stakeholders, from clients to regulators to employers. “I work seven days a week,” Maiuri said. “I keep crazy hours, but it’s not a burden. Every day is different.
“I have this philosophy that I share with the people I work with. I was a student-athlete, and I ask them, ‘Who was an athlete? Did you practice? How many of you practice your work?’”
If it sounds as though Maiuri is assigning “homework,” that’s because he is—and it’s nothing he doesn’t expect of himself. “I read a lot of macroeconomic research, usually between 5 and 8 a.m. on the weekends so it doesn’t interfere with family time. Sometimes I read inspirational material just to get me to think differently. I’m inquisitive. I always want to learn new things.”
To relax and unwind, Maiuri turns to his family, golf, music, and video games. “Some of the best times I had at AIC were with my Tau Kappa Epsilon brothers, and I still play golf with some of my fraternity brothers. I also play musical instruments, mostly guitar and drums. It’s more therapeutic than anything.
“I also really like playing Xbox. Playing video games is not only fun, it keeps me alert to the art of the possible. The computer power is amazing. I tell my wife it’s so I can be innovative, but I really just enjoy playing the game. People see me as a banker, but I have a creative side.”
10,000 hours. And then some.
-By Ellen Dooley
Featured Photo Credit: State Street Corporation