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US Banker’s Death At 35 Sparks Outrage Over Wall Street’s “Toxic” Work Culture

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Leo Lukenas III died of “acute coronary artery thrombus”.

The sudden death of a 35-year-old Bank Of America associate has sparked outrage on Wall Street as bankers slam the toxic work culture they feel contributed to his death, particularly the long work weeks. According to the New York Post, Leo Lukenas III, a former Green Beret who was part of the bank’s Financial Institutions Group, died on May 2 of “acute coronary artery thrombus”. His death came after he had allegedly been working some 100 hours a week for several weeks in a row on a $2 billion merger that was completed three days before his tragic death. 

The reaction on Wall Street over Mr Lukenas’ death has been swift and severe, with many pointing fingers at the demanding work culture prevalent in many financial institutions, including Bank of America. According to the Post, bank staffers slammed Mr Lukenas’ boss Gary Howe, co-head of the financial institutions group. Some employees even reportedly messaged each other about a possible walkout in an effort to bargain for better working conditions. 

On social media, one banker highlighted a list of demands for employees’ welfare. The demands include “proactive policies” that cap work schedules at an average of 80 hours over a 7-day period, and that employees get at least one weekend off per month. It also called for an investigation into Mr Lukenas’ death.

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The Bank of America, on the other hand, has said that it has no plans to take action against Mr Howe or to investigate complaints that its junior bankers are forced to put in 100-hour weeks. “We are very saddened by the loss of our teammate. We continue to focus on doing whatever we can to support the family and our team especially those who worked closely with him,” the BoA spokesperson told the Post.

Mr Lukenas left behind a wife and two young children. According to the outlet, his dedication to work is why some bankers on Wall Street are quick to link his death to a culture they believe values wealth over well-being. His death reopened a longstanding debate on Wall Street about a bank’s responsibility to employees.

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