Google Parent Alphabet’s Legal Head Leaving Amid Sexual Misconduct Troubles


Alphabet’s new Chief Executive Sundar Pichai on Friday gained the chance to reshape the management of Google’s mother or father with the exit of Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, whose outsized strategic position was overshadowed by worker considerations about his private relationship with a subordinate.

Drummond, additionally senior vp of company growth, had been with Google since its begin in 1998. He included the corporate as outdoors counsel, successful the enterprise of co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He later spent almost 18 years as the corporate’s prime lawyer and one in all its few black executives.

Scrutiny centered on Drummond because the board final yr investigated the corporate’s dealing with of sexual misconduct complaints all through its workforce, and he grew to become a lightning rod for criticism about what some staff considered as tolerance for poor habits.

Pichai now has his first massive probability to make his mark on Alphabet management since Page and Brin left him day-to-day reins of the corporate final month.

Drummond’s final day is Jan. 31, and a substitute has not been determined but, Alphabet mentioned.

“With Larry and Sergey now leaving their executive roles at Alphabet, the company is entering an exciting new phase, and I believe that it’s also the right time for me to make way for the next generation of leaders,” Drummond mentioned in an e-mail to staff shared by Google.

Some staff had questioned Drummond’s position on the firm after the New York Times in 2018 reported on an extramarital affair he had with subordinate, Jennifer Blakely, beginning in 2004. She informed the paper that she was successfully pressured to switch groups to adjust to Google’s office relationship coverage.

Blakely had a son with Drummond, however in August 2019 she publicly criticized him for not offering assist. Drummond responded in a press release calling himself “far from perfect.” Blakely didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Friday.

Some shareholders have urged Alphabet to make adjustments that had been inside Drummond’s purview, together with higher monetary transparency, greater share buybacks and a administration shakeup. Alphabet shares have risen 6.5% this month as analysts expressed optimism about potential adjustments.

In a departure from firm norm, Drummond will not be receiving an exit pay bundle. In current weeks, Drummond bought greater than $200 million value of his Alphabet shares, leaving him with about $90 million in firm inventory.

He stays a defendant, alongside different executives, in a lawsuit shareholders introduced final yr accusing Alphabet management of masking up sexual harassment scandals throughout the firm together with by awarding lavish exit packages to 2 prime executives discovered answerable for misconduct.

“While we are glad to see Mr. Drummond is no longer with Alphabet, we still intend to hold him accountable for fiduciary breaches through our litigation,” mentioned Julie Goldsmith Reiser, lawyer for the lead plaintiffs.

The board accomplished an inner investigation final month, however has not publicized findings. The litigation is in mediation, and the board’s findings and ensuing actions might grow to be referred to as it goes on.

Pichai in 2018 mentioned Google made errors in some instances and launched new procedures aimed toward creating fairness and transparency in harassment investigations.

“I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too,” mentioned Pichai, who on the time was Google CEO and had not but gained the extra title of Alphabet CEO.

The #MeToo motion has pressured main shake-ups in administration and harassment coverage throughout company America.

Through weblog posts, congressional appearances and media interviews, Drummond’s presence was felt in almost each public battle the corporate fought because it crippled conventional companies in media and telecoms on its method to on-line dominance.

Drummond has described himself as a variety advocate, telling Fortune in 2017 that he “pushed” the corporate to do extra on the problem. He inspired Google to publish knowledge concerning the demographics of its workforce, and in 2014 he marched right into a companywide assembly and spoke alongside colleagues annoyed by police violence towards younger black males.

Bigger position

When Google re-organized below the Alphabet umbrella in 2015, Page elevated Drummond’s position past managing the corporate’s authorized and regulatory issues to overseeing its funding funds and far-off ventures.

Earlier in his tenure, he beat a lawsuit lodged by insurer Geico that might have undermined the corporate’s now-massive search advertisements enterprise. He settled with Viacom a copyright infringement lawsuit that might have crushed YouTube on its method to turning into the highest on-line video vacation spot. And he fended off 5 main guide publishers to allow Google to make their copyrighted works searchable on-line.

Drummond tussled on behalf of Google with rival Microsoft Corp for a decade on govt poaching, anticompetitive conduct and patents, with every firm taking its share of licks.

As Google’s lead dealmaker, Drummond oversaw billions of {dollars}’ value of acquisitions together with of YouTube, DoubleClick and Motorola.

Drummond for a time served as the general public face of robust stands towards governments world wide. He has commonly advocated for freedoms of speech, and in 2010, he referred to as for commerce sanctions on nations that censor the web, comparable to China and Turkey.

© Thomson Reuters 2019 



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