CNBC is reporting that the board of directors for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is investigating how sexual misconduct cases have been handled.
In recent years, Google has had some high-profile sexual misconduct cases, and the company has not always won praise for how it has handled them. In 2014, CEO Larry Page asked for former Android chief Andy Rubin’s resignation following an accusation of sexual harassment. Google’s internal investigation had found the accusation to be credible. At the time, Rubin’s departure was portrayed as amicable. When Google employees later learned the real reason behind the departure—not to mention the $90 million golden parachute he received—some 20,000 of them engaged in a “walkout” to protest the company’s handling of the matter.
More recently, Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond was accused of misconduct following an extramarital affair with a subordinate, Jennifer Blakely. Despite promising to divorce his wife when Blakely became pregnant, Drummond reportedly “stayed married and later continued to have other affairs with other people from Google.” According to Blakely, Drummond then abandoned her and their son. Although his marriage did eventually end, he ended up remarrying another Google employee, although not a direct subordinate.
In the midst of these accusations, Blakely has accused the company of having a culture that breeds sexual misconduct. Once the New York Times ran its expose of Andy Rubin, Blakely says other women she worked with at Google reached out to her and told her “how offended they were by the blatant womanizing and philandering that became common practice among some (but certainly not all) executives, starting at the very top.”
In response to these ongoing issues, Alphabet shareholders sued the board for allegedly covering up its executives’ misconduct. In response, the board has opened an investigation and appointed an independent subcommittee, according to CNBC. An outside law firm has also been hired to assist in the investigation.
Industry experts, politicians and the public in general will no doubt be watching to see what conclusion the investigation reaches, and what changes will be made to alter the company’s culture moving forward.