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Alphabet's legal chief leaves company amid scrutiny

Alphabet's legal chief leaves company amid scrutiny
© Getty Images

The top lawyer at Alphabet, Google's parent company, is retiring amid scrutiny of his relationships with women and a larger internal reckoning at Google over alleged workplace misconduct.

David Drummond, who has played a central role in an ongoing investigation into workplace sexual misconduct at Alphabet, will leave the company by the end of this month, according to an Alphabet securities filing. A Google spokesperson confirmed that Drummond has informed the company he will be leaving effective Jan. 31. 

Last summer, Drummond acknowledged he had an affair with a former co-worker but denied many of her public allegations, chalking up her grievances to a "difficult breakup 10 years ago."

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The woman, Jennifer Blakely, published an extensive account of their relationship on Medium in August, alleging she and Drummond had an affair when she worked for him at Google. In it, she claimed that Drummond's treatment of her and their son was "nothing short of abuse."  

Alphabet's board of directors last year reportedly opened up an ongoing investigation into how the company has handled sexual misconduct claims, including those against Drummond. Alphabet and Google are still grappling with the fallout from the controversial decision to pay Andy Rubin, an Android executive accused of sexual assault, $90 million when he left the company in October 2014. 

Fury over Rubin's enormous exit package sparked the largest walkout in Google history in 2018, and the company faces an ongoing wave of internal employee protest over a range of workplace issues more than a year later.

Drummond in an internal memo this week reportedly cited the recent departure of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as a factor behind his decision to leave the company.

"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 wrote in an internal memo to his colleagues, according to Forbes. “As a result, after careful consideration, I have decided to retire at the end of this month.”

Drummond, who worked for the company for over two decades, will not receive an exit package.