01 December, 2017
Now, it looks like the firm will have more to deal with, as founder and CEO Andy Rubin has taken a leave of absence citing personal reasons. The employee was said to be working for the company's Android division while Rubin was still in charge - a relationship prohibited by Google's rulebook.
"Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual", Mike Sitrick told the Information, which first reported the allegation. But according to The Information, an investigation into an "inappropriate relationship" Rubin had with a woman junior to him was the catalyst for him leaving the company. The investigation reportedly took place in 2014, which is after Rubin left the Android team and moved over to Google's robotics arm.
Despite his spokesman claiming he is innocent and the relationship was consensual, Rubin announced to Essential that he was taking a leave of absence shortly after The Information told him about the report. "The board agreed and our president, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential". He stayed on at Google for nine years, overseeing the eponymous Android operating system's (OS) development before departing in 2013 to found Playground Global, a studio that provides resources, mentorship, and funding to hardware startups.
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When reached by SiliconBeat Wednesday, a Google spokesperson said the company would have no comment.
Then again, most of Essential's recent problems could've been avoided without Rubin. See, Google has a policy against relationships between supervisors and subordinates, so this is not a "harassment" type thing - it's an issue of a VP having an alleged romantic relationship with an employee.
The spokesperson did not add if Rubin's leave of absence had anything to do with the report or when Rubin would be returning to the company. According to multiple reports, his departure coincided with the start of Google's investigation.