As claimed by a newly-released unauthorized book, Ray Dalio, billionaire investor and hedge fund manager once interrogated his pregnant protege in a boardroom full of executives till she cried. The book is authored by Rob Copeland titled ‘THE FUND: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend‘ drawn from hundreds of interviews of those inside one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Bridgewater Associates, to look into the workings of the firm and especially its founder.
The book says that a former employee Katina Stefanova who was pregnant at that time entered a conference room, which quickly got filled by the company’s top executives.
According to various media reports, Dalio apparently said that he would launch a probe and deliver a diagnosis. He asked her to confirm whether she had fallen short of his assignment. “The diagnosis was that she was an idiot, a point he made over and over,” the book states. Dalio told her that if he had approved the pace of hiring then it was her job to tell him that he was wrong. He called her dumb and screamed at her, Copeland writes in the book. As she silently wept, many in the room looked away, the author writes. She eventually burst into tears and left the room. But Dalio was unmoved.
The whole episode was recorded and loaded up on ‘Bridgewater’s Transparency Library, an electronic repository of tens of thousands of hours of internal meetings‘. Dalio ordered his team to create a short version of this episode. The eventual product made her reaction seem extreme and inappropriate, states Copeland in the book.
As per the report, a spokesperson for Ray Dalio, however, called the book “just another one of those classic tabloid books, authored by someone who applied for a job at Bridgewater and was rejected more than a decade ago”. The spokesperson said that the author became a prominent investigative reporter and “made a career of writing distorted stories” about Bridgewater and Ray Dalio. The report quoted the spokesperson saying that Copeland sought out “negative stories” from employees who were dismissed. “The picture the book paints is obviously implausible given Bridgewater’s long track record of investment performance and its high percentage of long-tenured employees,“ the spokesperson said.
The recording was sent to thousands of employees, and a version of it is played for job candidates. Copeland writes in the book that Dalio became “increasingly agitated” and “perhaps most unforgiving about the lowest-level tasks of the firm”.
Copeland also writes about the “whiteboard case” in which Dalio, in the middle of making a flow-chart, grabbed an eraser to rub something off the board. The eraser was not fully removing the marking and had smeared it. He asked who was responsible for this “badness”, and out went one of the employees to find the culprit but could not find anything.
Dalio apparently then, holding the entire team responsible, decided on a drill. He called them for a demonstration and kept drawing on the board and erasing it over and over. The facilities staff then, reacting as if their jobs were at stake, asked them to show where he wanted to use the boards and then ordered “every single whiteboard on the market”.
The video of the investigation was edited together under the title ‘How many facilities people does it take to put up a whiteboard?‘ Copeland writes.