Chief of a hedge fund being sued quits

Chief of a hedge fund being sued quits

A top executive at the investment firm led by billionaire investor Steven A. Cohen has stepped down a month after a female employee sued the firm over accusations that it underpaid female employees and fostered a hostile work environment.

Douglas D. Haynes resigned as president of the firm, Point72 Asset Management, on Friday, according to five people briefed on the matter but not authorized to speak publicly because the suit is continuing.

Haynes, a former executive at McKinsey & Co. who joined Point72 in 2014, is named as a defendant in the suit.

The firm confirmed Haynes’ departure to employees in a letter Friday. In the letter, Cohen thanked Haynes for his work at Point72.

The letter, a copy of which was seen by two of the people who spoke to The New York Times, did not address the lawsuit or the allegations in it. The two people said that Haynes’ departure was not related to the litigation.

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Haynes could not immediately be reached for comment Saturday.

In the suit, which was filed last month in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Lauren Bonner, an associate director at the firm, said that Haynes had belittled female employees — calling one a “dumb blonde” — and had a whiteboard in his office on which the word “pussy” was written in large letters and left there for several weeks last year.

Point72, which is based in Stamford, Connecticut, said in a statement after the suit was filed that it “emphatically denies these allegations.” In court, lawyers for Cohen and Point72 have sought to move the matter to arbitration. Early Saturday, Ellen Davis, a Point72 spokeswoman, said, “The firm’s view remains that the lawsuit is without merit.”

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Davis said in a subsequent statement, “Steve Cohen wants to make sure that his firm is living up to its stated values and fostering a respectful workplace.” As part of that effort, she said, Cohen had retained the prominent law firm WilmerHale “to conduct an independent assessment and provide legal advice that will help to improve the firm’s policies and procedures, strengthen its culture and foster best practices.”

In his letter, Cohen, who is also named as defendant in Bonner’s suit, said he would serve as the firm’s president while searching for a successor to Haynes.