Billionaire Abigail Johnson fires 2 Fidelity Investments execs for sexual harassment
By Agence France-Presse
Fidelity Investments, one of the biggest financial funds in the world and run by the most powerful woman in American finance, has sacked two senior executives accused of sexual harassment, an industry source confirmed Tuesday.
The two dismissals are the first to be made public in the male-dominated world of US finance since the downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein provoked a global outcry over sexual impropriety in the workplace.
Former portfolio manager Robert Chow and ex tech-fund manager Gavin Baker were let go in recent weeks after being accused of sexual harassment in the work place, said a source not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Chow, 56, spent 30 years at Fidelity and left the firm in early October.
Baker, a 41-year-old who ran a $16 billion fund until he was accused by a 26-year-old Fidelity associate, left the firm in September.
“Fidelity’s policies specifically prohibit harassment in any form,” company spokesman Vincent Loporchio told AFP by email.
“When allegations of these sorts are brought to our attention, we investigate them immediately and take prompt and appropriate action. We simply will not, and do not, tolerate this type of behavior.”
Fidelity operates an anonymous telephone hotline that allows associates to report “concerns of unethical or inappropriate activities” anonymously, and conducts annual training on discrimination and harassment policies.
The fund manages $6.4 trillion in assets and employs more than 40,000 associates. Its CEO is Abigail Johnson. Her fortune is valued by Forbes at $17.5 billion.
Wall Street is often criticized for poor representation of women and minorities. Only two percent of CEOs in the US finance sector are women, according to nonprofit organization Catalyst.
The six largest American banks — JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley — are all run by men.
Last year, Bank of America was sued by a former employee for paying women less than men of equal rank and presiding over a “bro-club” atmosphere.