CVC Capital Executive Says She Lost Job Over Complaint of Sexism

  • Lisa Lee says she was only female managing director at firm
  • Firm says ex-employee's allegations are `without merit'

CVC Capital Partners was sued by a former executive who says she was the only female managing director on the private equity firm’s business side before being pushed out for complaining about sexism.

Lisa Lee, who worked in the firm’s New York office, said she was subjected to unwanted physical contact and denigrating comments by supervisors and was denied promotions and professional opportunities provided to male colleagues, according to the complaint filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.

Lee, 42, claims the firm tried to strip away her accounts -- and redistribute them to male employees -- when she went out on maternity leave to give birth to twins. She says she was told in January 2015 the firm was planning to end her employment, a day after she filed a written complaint about “systematic sex discrimination” at CVC. She was let go as part of a “restructuring” a month later, according to the complaint.

“The claims by this former employee are without merit, and we will defend our position vigorously,’ Carsten Huwendiek, a spokesman for CVC in London, said in an e-mail comment.

Lee, who described herself as Asian American, said she was the only woman among 24 managing directors and 13 senior managing directors in the firm’s private equity divisions.

She’s seeking unspecified monetary damages from CVC. CVC manages money for more than 300 institutional, governmental and private investors worldwide, the firm says on its website.

Before she went to work for CVC in 2009, Lee spent 12 years with Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and AT Kearney, she said in the complaint.

The case is Lee v. CVC Capital Partners, 1:16-cv-00362, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.