June 13, 2019 / 1:12 AM / 2 months ago

TCW's head of alternative products Jess Ravich leaves firm

NEW YORK, June 12 (Reuters) - Jess Ravich, the head of alternative products at TCW Group Inc, has left the U.S. asset management firm, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

Ravich last year was named as a defendant in a sexual harassment case filed in New York state court by Sara Tirschwell, a distressed debt specialist who had worked at TCW. The lawsuit, which is also against TCW and its chief executive David Lippman, is pending in court.

Through his lawyer, Ravich declined to comment on the reason for his departure. TCW declined to comment on the reason why Ravich left the firm.

"Tirschwell's complaint filed January 25, 2018 in New York State Supreme Court is quite clear about her position concerning the conduct of Jess Ravich, David Lippman – TCW’s chief executive officer – and TCW toward her," a spokesperson for Tirschwell said in a statement. "Beyond this, Tirschwell has no comment."

Ravich stepped down from TCW's board of directors in October 2018 after the firm found "some unprofessional communications" between Ravich and Tirschwell, according to a copy of an internal memo reviewed by Reuters. He had previously been on leave from the board, according to the memo.

TCW had hired an independent law firm to look into Tirschwell's allegations after it learned of them, according to the memo.

In her lawsuit, Tirschwell said Ravich, who was her boss at the time, "coerced" her into having sex with him. She alleged that after complaining of his advances, TCW fired her on the pretext that she had violated the firm's conflict of interest rules.

TCW has said in the past that it is proud of its inclusive culture and has a zero tolerance policy for any form of predatory behavior. In past statements, Ravich has said Tirschwell's "allegations are completely false," and that he was her "biggest supporter."

Ravich worked as head of alternative products at TCW since 2012. Earlier in his career, he was head of the capital markets group at investment bank Houlihan Lokey Inc.

Tirschwell spent 11 years at hedge fund Davidson Kempner Capital Management, according to her LinkedIn profile, and has been named as among the top women in her field.

She is now the interim chief financial officer at Foundation House, a transitional sober living program for men aged 17 to 35, according to the program's website.

Over the last few years, dozens of men have been fired or resigned from jobs in politics, media, entertainment and business after facing sexual misconduct accusations, including Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein and broadcaster Charlie Rose. (Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli Editing by Bill Rigby)

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