Alphabet’s new CEO, Sundar Pichai, was given a chance to shake up the leadership at Google’s parent company when its Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, announced his exit from the company on Friday. The significance of Drummond’s role was largely overshadowed by concerns over his personal relationship with one of his subordinates at the tech giant.
Drummond Had Been With Google Since 1998
Drummond was one of Google’s oldest employees, having been with the company since its inception in 1998. He was also the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. While he joined the company as an outside counsel, he was later brought onboard by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He spent 18 years as a top lawyer for Alphabet, and was one of the handful of black executives.
In the previous year, as the board investigated how complaints of sexual misconduct were dealt with at the company, Drummond came into light as employees gave feedback of what was perceived as tolerance towards ill behavior. As per the recent announcement, January 31st marks the last day for Drummond at the company. Alphabet further stated that the company has not yet found a replacement.
Pichai, who was given the responsibility of handling day-to-day affairs last month by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, now has the chance to leave his mark on Alphabet leadership with Drummond gone and Page and Brin having taken the backseat from their previous executive roles. Drummond announced his departure to the employees in an email and stated:
“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’s Subordinate Accuses Him Of Not Providing For His Son
Many eyebrows were raised after a New York Times report in 2018 publicized his extramarital affair with a subordinate, Jennifer Blakely, which had been ongoing since 2004. Blakely told the papers that she was forced to switch teams to be in compliance with Google’s dating policy. Blakely and Drummond had a son, but she blamed Drummond in August 2019 for not providing support for his son. Drummond responded by calling himself “far from perfect”.
Shareholders had pressed Alphabet for greater transparency and a management shakeup after Drummond’s scandal. This month, owing to the rising optimism of the analysts, Alphabet’s shares noted a growth of 6.5%. Drummond will not receive the standard exit package and has sold more than $200 million of his shares of Alphabet.
Pichai said that Google had made some mistakes in the past and was now ready to introduce new policies. “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,” he said.