Alphabet Chief Legal Officer David Drummond will leave the company at the end of the month and will not receive a severance package. No need to cry for Drummond though since he routinely found himself on the annual list of the highest paid in-house attorneys in the land.
Technically, Drummond is retiring to make way for the company’s new leadership, but with Alphabet quick to point out that Drummond won’t be receiving an exit package and that there’s still on ongoing investigation, it looks like Google compiled its annual Year In Search and someone kept noticing their own legal department making all the wrong headlines.
As we recapped the situation back in September on the occasion of Drummond’s wedding: “the GC just married an employee this weekend, but not the employee who says he neglected their baby after he had an affair with her while married to yet another person.” Why doesn’t Google have a streaming service, because that’s top-notch drama right there! The former employee with the baby, Jennifer Blakely, had an affair with Drummond in 2007. That kid is going to be going to high school soon — that’s how long Google’s had a heads up about how the legal department works. And Blakely claims that Drummond had numerous other affairs with employees before deciding to marry… an employee.
Even if everything happens above board, turning the office into a dating pool reflects a broken professional culture at best, and as worst can lead to downplaying sexual misconduct throughout the company — which is theoretically something the legal department is tasked with policing. If a legal department adopts the worldview that asymmetrical power relationships aren’t a barrier to sexual relationships, then it’s that much easier to dismiss harassment — when hitting on employees is acceptable harassment becomes “a misunderstanding.”
A culture like this is exactly how Android’s Andy Rubin ends up with millions after credible allegations of misconduct:
Drummond was most recently one of several executives at the center of an internal investigation regarding Google’s handling of sexual harassment and misconduct, including the $90 million exit package given to disgraced Android co-founder Andy Rubin following Rubin’s own credible allegations of sexual misconduct.
The investigation that followed the worldwide uproar over the company trying to sweep Rubin’s story under the rug with a $90 million payout may not be the reason Drummond’s leaving, but it’s a pretty good reason why he had to go. Even if the investigation ultimately clears Drummond, the employee response to the Rubin package indicates a lack of confidence in the leadership of the department and that requires a change for the company to move forward.
But in case you were still worried, Drummond sold around $200 million in stock over the past several months, so he’s fine no matter what the investigation decides.
Alphabet’s top lawyer is leaving with no exit package following misconduct scandals [The Verge]
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.
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