A Goldman Sachs partner accused several executives, including chief executive David Solomon, of making misogynistic comments in a complaint that resulted in the Wall Street bank paying her a settlement totalling more than $12mn, according to people familiar with the matter.
Goldman paid the long-serving executive the settlement before she left the company in 2020 in an effort to keep the allegations secret, the people said.
The allegations and settlement, which was agreed two years ago, were first reported by Bloomberg.
“Bloomberg’s reporting contains factual errors, and we dispute this story. Anyone who works with David knows his respect for women, and his long record of creating an inclusive and supportive environment for women,” Goldman general counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said in a statement. The bank declined to comment further on what errors Ruemmler was referring to.
Solomon was not the target of the complaint but the salacious details referenced in it included an alleged remark he made to colleagues that he was the only person in the room who had received oral sex the night before, the people familiar with the matter said.
Most of the alleged incidents occurred in 2018, the year Solomon became chief executive, and 2019. Supporting her case, the partner had audio recordings of some of the comments by Goldman executives referenced in her complaint, two of the people familiar with the matter said.
The partner who made the accusations declined to comment.
The revelations come at a difficult moment for Solomon, who is four years into the chief executive job and last month announced his second major restructuring of the bank as he battles to close a stock market valuation gap versus its peers.
Solomon has also faced questions internally over his ostentatious style, which has included high-profile DJing appearances and his request for Goldman to purchase two private planes.
The complaint highlights the degree to which Wall Street banks have struggled to recruit and retain female and minority employees in an industry still dominated by white male executives. The chief executives of five of the six biggest US banks by assets are white men.
Earlier this year, another former Goldman employee, Jamie Fiore Higgins, published a memoir of her 17 years at the bank in which she alleged she suffered bullying, discrimination and manipulation.
Solomon has talked publicly about trying to diversify Goldman’s workforce and in 2019 published a set of hiring targets. Last week, the bank elevated a record number of female and black employees to its elite partner ranks.