Andy Rubin, the cofounder of Android, left Google in 2014 to launch a startup incubator in what was seemingly an amicable departure. “I want to wish Andy all the best with what’s next,” Google co-founder Larry Page said in a statement following the announcement of Rubin’s exit. 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.
Google reportedly launched an internal investigation into Rubin’s relationship with a subordinate after a woman complained to Human Resources. The woman who filed a complaint to HR is said to have worked on the Android team, which Rubin ran. There are no details in the report on the nature of the woman’s relationship with Rubin. Google has a policy that does not allow relationships between supervisors and subordinates on the same team.
Mike Sitrick, a spokesman for Rubin, told the Information, “Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual” and “Mr. Rubin was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since.”
The Information reported that after it reached out to Rubin’s spokesman for comment on the story, employees at the startup were informed that Rubin was taking a leave of absence “for personal reasons.”
Rubin wouldn’t be the first executive at Google to leave the company following “inappropriate” behavior. Google’s head of search Amit Singhal left the company after an internal investigation into a sexual harassment claim against him was determined “credible.” And in 2015, a former Google engineer claimed that two men in management at Google had sexually harassed her, and that the company failed to act on her complaints.
We have reached out to Google and Essential for comment and will update with a response.
Update 11/29/2017 2:17pm: An Essential spokesperson provided the following statement:
At our last regularly scheduled board meeting earlier in November, Andy asked for a leave of absence to deal with personal matters. The Board agreed and our President, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential.