Lazard fires banker for alleged inappropriate party behavior

Snellenbarger did not publicly respond to the allegations, and messages seeking comment were not returned.

“Out of respect for our colleagues who may have been affected by this individual’s behavior, we are not providing or confirming any further details about the incident,” a Lazard spokesperson said in a statement.

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Monday, Bloomberg News reported Lazard’s decision to fire one of its US-based bankers after an investigation found he had behaved in a manner inconsistent with the firm̵[ads1]7;s values. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Thursday that Snellenbarger was the banker involved.

Snellenbarger joined Lazard from advisory and restructuring specialist Houlihan Lokey Inc. He served as investment banker for former blog publisher Gawker Media Group Inc. in the $135 million sale of its sites to Univision Holdings Inc. in 2016. He also advised bankrupt mortgage lender Ditech Holding Corp., which won approval in 2019 for a $1.8 billion sale of its businesses.

The alleged conduct that led to his dismissal from Lazard took place at a private party where other employees of the firm were also present, people familiar with the matter previously said. Lazard acted quickly to investigate the allegations, and Snellenbarger was terminated over the weekend. Lazard’s incoming chief executive, Peter Orszag, informed staff of the decision in an internal memo on Sunday.

Wall Street has sought to move away from a culture that has been blamed for encouraging excessive risk-taking and workplace behavior ranging from harassment to discrimination. On its website, Lazard says it promotes an environment of “mutual respect” and encourages employees to be positive ambassadors for the firm.

The swift action by Lazard comes at a sensitive time for the New York-based bank. Orszag is preparing to take over from Ken Jacobs in October, and it emerged last month that the firm preliminary talks to sell itself to Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ before deciding against the move.

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