President of billionaire’s firm resigns amid sexism lawsuit
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The president of billionaire Steven Cohen’s investment firm in Connecticut has resigned, shortly after the firm was sued over alleged hostile, sexist and discriminatory conduct by male executives.
Douglas Haynes resigned from Stamford-based Point72 Asset Management on Friday. A company spokeswoman declined to comment Monday on whether Haynes’ departure was related to the lawsuit and referred to a statement that said the lawsuit is “without merit.”
Cohen will serve as chief executive and president until Haynes’ successor is hired. Cohen recently came off a two-year ban on managing other people’s money that was part of a settlement with federal regulators over allegations he failed to prevent insider trading at his previous firm.
Cohen sent an email to Point72 employees Friday saying Haynes was successful and surpassed fundraising expectations, and they both agreed it was time for new leadership. Haynes, a former director at the McKinsey & Co. global management consulting firm, had been with Point72 since it was founded in 2014.
Haynes could not be reached for comment Monday. A home phone listing for him was not in service and he did not immediately return an email sent to his Point72 address.
On Feb. 12, associate director Lauren Bonner sued Point72, Cohen and Haynes in federal court, alleging women at the firm were harshly mistreated, paid less than their male peers, subjected to sexist and “repulsive” behavior and passed over for promotion.
Among the allegations in the lawsuit is that Haynes kept a derogatory word referring to the female anatomy on a white board in his office for several weeks. The lawsuit also says executives openly expressed their disdain for women, one official declared before meetings that no “girls” were allowed, and a paid consultant for the firm gave another Point72 executive permission to have sex with his female employee.
“By this lawsuit, Ms. Bonner seeks to hold accountable Point72, Cohen, Haynes and other executives for their shameful and unlawful conduct, and take immediate steps to halt the continued harassment of their female employees,” says the lawsuit, which also seeks an undisclosed amount of money in damages.
The lawsuit said Cohen “participated in, ratified and/or approved” discriminatory decisions, including pay and promotion decisions that affected Bonner.
Cohen’s two-year ban on managing other people’s money ended after Dec. 31.
Federal prosecutors accused Cohen’s former firm, SAC Capital, of engaging in illegal insider trading on an epic scale, saying Cohen enabled the misconduct. SAC Capital agreed in 2013 to plead guilty to criminal fraud charges and to pay $1.8 billion. It was the largest financial penalty at the time for insider trading, according to prosecutors.
As part of its plea deal, SAC Capital stopped taking in funds to manage from outside investors — transforming into a “family office” investing mainly Cohen’s money. The company was renamed Point72 Asset Management.
Cohen was never criminally charged. He agreed to the two-year ban in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016. He neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s allegations.
This version corrects that the Point72 spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Haynes’ resignation was related to the lawsuit, and referred to a statement saying the lawsuit was without merit.