Capital One customer service executives told a Senate panel they were told not to talk to the media and to not even use the company’s own social media channels, even though they were on the verge of being fired over a sexual harassment scandal that led to the resignation of CEO Stephen Schwarzman and prompted congressional hearings.
A former top Capital One executive, Matthew Smith, said in testimony last month that he was told that if he made a comment about the company, Capital One would have to suspend him or terminate him, according to the Senate Banking Committee.
Smith’s attorney, William McBride, said Monday that the former executive’s comments were “a false and misleading representation” that he had no knowledge of the misconduct by other executives.
Smith told the Senate panel that he took his complaints about the sexual harassment and discrimination issue seriously, but was unable to act because of the threat of termination from the bank’s CEO.
Capital One was founded in 1977 and is based in Wilmington, Delaware.
The bank said Monday in a statement that it was “unable to comment on this particular issue due to the ongoing investigation.”
Capital One’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Lusardi told the committee that he personally learned about Smith’s allegations of sexual harassment from the media in a tweet that he later deleted.
He said he was in the process of reviewing a disciplinary action for Smith that would be considered by the company in the future.
The bank did not say if Lusaris actions were related to Smith’s resignation.
Schwarzman, who resigned last week after facing questions over the bank, has been under investigation by the House and Senate over his role in the sexual misconduct scandal that has also implicated executives from Citigroup and Bank of America.
The former bank chief has denied any wrongdoing.