We'd always thought that, in spite of its undesirable Midtown location, Random House was the best place to work in publishing. They're owned by Bertelsmann, a German company, which means they have a more Euro-style approach to vacation days and they give you a bonus for having a baby and stuff like that. Also, they have the best 'shrine to books' lobby (pictured). But having the week between Xmas and New Years off is starting to seem a little less desirable in light of a memo a former RH employee leaked to us today:

Dear Random House Employee or former Employee:

I write to inform you about a matter of concern that came to our attention recently. In 2003, Bertelsmann engaged the services of the consulting firm Towers Perrin to work on a project on behalf of all Bertelsmann companies in the United States, including Random House. For the purposes of this project, Towers Perrin had access to employee data, including names, Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth and other information related to your employment, but no bank or credit card information.

Bertelsmann was recently informed by Towers Perrin that computers which may have contained this data were stolen from their offices on approximately November 27, 2006. The suspect, an employee of Towers Perrin, has subsequently been arrested, but the computers themselves have not yet been retrieved. As an employee of record at Random House in December 2004, your employee information may have been included in this data on the stolen computers. Only individuals who may have been affected by this incident are receiving information regarding the possible data loss.

The letter goes on to state that Random House "sincerely hope[s] that no one's personal information will be misused." How thoughtful and compassionate! We assume that if any employees or former employees' identities do get theived, HR will sending along just the fanciest condolence note money can buy.

Update: All Amex employees apparently received a near-identical memo yesterday; one suspects that "there's more to this than they're letting on" (fwiw).

[Image Source]