Robert Coehoorn

My friend and used-to-be colleague Robert Coehoorn (1981-2013) passed away. During the past week, I kept thinking about the movie Sliding Doors. A movie about how someone’s future completely changes as a result of a single decision.

On a Friday in the autumn of 2006 Robert came to interview at IMC. I spoke with an open, honest, friendly and intelligent guy and I wanted to make him a job offer. Robert said that he also had another offer from his previous employer and that he had to give it a thought. That evening, I realised that on his resume, I had seen Robert’s home address. It was close to mine. I went and put a copy of “Inventing Money” by Nicholas Dunbar in his door. Came next Monday, Robert called and said ┬áthat he had read the book over the weekend and that he chose for IMC.

Robert’s career skyrocketed. About half a year after Robert had started, in July 2007, I received a mail in Hong Kong that 25 year old Robert was “aan het knallen” (jargon for: ruling the world). Another six months later there was a status report saying: “In Robert Coehoorn, we’ve found a strong new teammember (…) Robert will have an additional trainee to help out“.

When I left IMC in 2008 Robert sent me a heartfelt mail in which he reminded me of the book that I had brought him and thanked me for everything he learned. I wrote to him that he had gotten himself on the fast track and that he should stay on it.

So he did. In 2009, Robert’s desk moved to Switzerland. Robert had turned Head of ETF Trading and Index Arbitrage and I was told he did a great job. From his Facebook entries you can see that Robert was fully into sports. In Switzerland he would snowboard, run and cycle. And abroad it was surfing and diving.

Last week, even on Robert’s fatal very last day in Switzerland before he’d move to Holland, he went snowboarding. He loved life. Sliding doors. What if Robert had chosen to stay with his old employer? He would or wouldn’t have moved to Switzerland. But either way he would have gone to the mountains often for the great outdoors.

And Robert’s many current and former colleagues who now express their sorrow, would not have had the privilige to work and laugh and cry with RoCo, as they always call him.

In our last chat, a month ago Robert, my former pupil, ended this chat with an advice to me: “nu wereld veroveren” (now conquer the world). I think he wanted to say this for everyone. Love life and conquer the world.

April 2013, Hong Kong, Tom Voute