A report from The New York Times today has revealed new, alarming details on the circumstances that surrounded Andy Rubin’s departure from Google in 2014. The man often referred to as “the father of Android,” who is currently the chief executive officer of Essential, was asked to resign from Google by Larry Page, according to the Times.
The company had investigated sexual misconduct claims against Rubin, which revolved around an incident in which he allegedly coerced another Google employee into “performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013.” Despite reportedly finding the claims credible — to the point that Page decided Rubin needed to go — Google gave him a $90 million exit package. The last $2 million of that agreement will be paid out next month.
During the initial stages of that investigation in 2014, Google awarded Rubin “a stock grant worth $150 million.” The move gave Rubin, a highly-valued executive at the company, a financial incentive for sticking around he’d moved on from Android to focus his efforts on a robotics unit. The Times says it’s unclear whether Page or Google’s leadership committee knew about the misconduct allegations when they approved that huge grant. But they certainly did when reaching the $90 million figure as Rubin headed out the door, and Page offered public praise for Rubin in announcing his departure.
According to the report, Google was under no obligation to offer such an enormous sum to Rubin or any of the other executives that the Times says received big payouts after leaving the company over sexual misconduct allegations. They could’ve all been fired without severance, but were instead protected by the company and given millions. In Rubin’s case, the deal prevented him from working for any of the company’s major rivals or publicly disparaging Google.
In a statement, Google responded to the Times’ questioning over the numerous cases by saying “we investigate and take action, including termination. In recent years, we’ve taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We’re working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior.”
The Times details a consensual relationship between Rubin and an employee on the Android team in 2011 that violated Google’s corporate disclosure rules because it was not reported to human resources. The later hotel incident stemmed from an extramarital relationship between Rubin and an employee on the Android team that began while he was still overseeing the division that has become so crucial to Google’s business.
Rubin met his ex-wife Rie Rubin at Google and “also dated other women at the company while married,” the report says. They divorced this past August, a few months after he took a leave of absence from Essential when The Information broke news of the misconduct claims during his tenure at Google. Rubin eventually returned to the CEO role at Essential, though an ongoing lawsuit from his former wife sheds more light on his behavior. Here’s the Times:
In a civil suit filed this month by Mr. Rubin’s ex-wife, Rie Rubin, she claimed he had multiple “ownership relationships” with other women during their marriage, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to them.
The suit included a screenshot of an August 2015 email Mr. Rubin sent to one woman. “You will be happy being taken care of,” he wrote. “Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people.”
Last November, after the sexual misconduct allegations against Rubin were first publicized, a spokesperson told The New York Times: “Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported to him. Mr. Rubin was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while Google or since.”
Essential, the company that Rubin continues to lead, recently suffered significant layoffs and reportedly canceled a follow-up to its first Android-based smartphone.