GODFATHER OF Android and ex-Googler Andy Rubin has taken a leave of absence from his company Essential after it emerged that he had an 'inappropriate' relationship with a co-worker whilst at Google.
The Information (paywalled) reports that the timing of Rubin's departure from Google reflected the timing of an HR investigation into his conduct with a subordinate at the company.
The exact nature of the relationship has not been disclosed, but Mr Rubin's spokesperson Mike Sitrick insists that any relationship was consensual, adding that "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."
Rules about inter-company relationships tend to be stricter in the US than the UK and it could simply be a case that they didn't tell anyone that they were having a tete-a-tete and then it all went sour, so she involved HR.
Alternatively, it could be something more sinister. We just don't know at this stage.
The woman is believed to have worked in the Android division of Google, but the relationship happened after Rubin had left to work on Google robot development.
If they had still been working together, one of them would normally be transferred internally anyway, in accordance with Google's HR policies.
Nevertheless, The Information's information informs that the report concluded: "Rubin's behaviour was improper and showed bad judgement."
Rubin is taking a leave of absence for "personal reasons" from his current company, Essential. This adds an extra layer of spice to the story, as there's no reason to do this if Rubin had an innocent office romance at another company.
On the contrary, with the first Essential phone proving to be a critical success but a commercial flop so far (Black Friday discounts galore), Rubin would be surely expected to be all-hands-on-deck with his new baby, at what will be seen as a crucial time strategically. µ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
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