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Sam Bankman-Fried’s psychiatrist was hired at FTX to ‘coach’ and counsel employees, report says

FTX's founder Sam Bankman-Fried standing in front of signs saying "FTX arena."FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried attends a press conference at the FTX Arena in downtown Miami on June 4, 2021.

Miami Herald/Getty Images

  • SBF’s personal psychiatrist was on staff at FTX, according to the Wall Street Journal. 
  • Dr. George Lerner was hired to engage with employees as a “coach,” not a medical professional, the Journal reported. 
  • One former employee blasted the doctor in a Twitter thread last December. 

Employees at FTX had access to Sam Bankman-Fried’s personal psychologist, who offered them advice and counseling in “coaching” sessions, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal

Dr. George Lerner was hired to FTX in early 2022, according to the Journal, after serving as a psychologist for Bankman-Fried and other tech moguls in San Francisco. 

Employees at the Bahamas-based crypto exchange which imploded last year engaged with Lerner not as a medical professional, but as a coach, according to the Journal. In an email, Lerner told the Wall Street Journal he focused on creating a sustainable work environment while at the company.

“They were amazing people — driven, brilliant, wanting to make a positive impact on the world,” Lerner told the Journal. “Conflict resolution was the toughest as most of my work has historically been with individuals.” 

While some employees welcomed Lerner into the fray at FTX, others told the Journal he made it clear he could offer employees drugs like Adderall or Xanax. Some employees said they held back information in coaching sessions with Lerner, because they worried he was too close to Bankman-Fried, the Journal reported. 

Lerner also counseled some employees who were deemed at risk of suicide, according to the Journal, and made an effort to help employees go on dates. 

“I was very concerned that people’s happiness would be reduced by lack of dating opportunities outside of a big city or that they would feel compelled to leave the company due to this,” he told the Journal. 

In a December Twitter thread referenced by the Journal, former FTX employee Dani Cloud detailed several encounters with Lerner, and accused him of being a means for employees at the company to obtain drugs. 

“In true FTX tradition, the shrink’s experience consists of befriending the Bankman-Fried household a decade prior and the ability to be a bridge between affluent kids and their insatiable amphetamine dependency,” she wrote. 

—Dani Cloud (@daniiicloud) December 14, 2022

 

Following the collapse of FTX and amid charges of fraud against Bankman-Fried, Lerner told the Journal he’s now focusing on rebuilding his private practice. While Lerner’s communications with Bankman-Fried have been supeonaed, he has not been accused of wrongdoing, per the Journal. 

Read the original article on Business Insider