Two Mysterious Deaths Have Banks Soul Searching Yet Again
“Is there a suicide contagion on Wall Street?” That’s the headline of a Fortune Magazine article that ran last February. Two recent deaths of bankers in their 20s – both being investigated as potential suicides – have people once again pondering that question.
Late Monday night, Andrew Ross Sorkin from the New York Times published a story on Sarvshreshth Gupta, a 22-year-old Goldman Sachs analyst who was working in San Francisco. Gupta was found dead in a parking lot next to his apartment building in mid-April, though the news didn’t become public until Sorkin’s article and a blog post by his father that was soon taken down. Gupta fell from the building. No cause of death has been declared.
The backstory on Gupta, as told by his father, paints a picture of an overworked and overwhelmed young banker. Working until 5 a.m. and sometimes all through the night, Gupta burned out in March and quit his job less than a year in. However, he rejoined the bank a week later on a reduced schedule and was offered counseling services.
Fast-forward a month and Gupta was back to burning the midnight oil, working on a string of tech deals. “He calls us and says, ‘It is too much. I have not slept for two days, have a client meeting tomorrow morning, have to complete a presentation, my VP is annoyed and I am working alone in my office,’” his father wrote. Gupta completed another hour of work and then headed home. He was found dead the next morning.
The news of Gupta’s death comes just a week after 29-year-old Moeis banker Thomas Hughes was found dead outside of his New York apartment from an apparent fall. His father told the Daily Mail that Hughes was under “a lot of pressure” at work.
While Gupta’s death has not been ruled a suicide, Sorkin writes that the tragedy has “caused a new round of reflection and re-evaluation by Goldman and other Wall Street firms.” Banks have implemented several work-life programs over the last two years, but more changes and additional support could be coming.
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