- Google chief diversity officer, Danielle Brown, is leaving the company.
- Brown will be joining Gusto, a human resources startup, as chief people officer.
- Google said in a statement that Brown will be replaced by Melonie Parker, who has acted as Google’s head of diversity, equity and inclusion.
- In the past year, Google has faced scrutiny over its handling of sexual misconduct allegations against senior executives, and faces a class action lawsuit over pay discrimination.
Following a year full of controversy – including the Google Walkout, where employees protested the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations – Google is shaking up its diversity and inclusion team.
Google’s chief diversity officer, Danielle Brown, is leaving the company, the company confirmed Thursday to Business Insider. She’ll be replaced by Melonie Parker, who had served as Google’s global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the last 9 months.
“We’re grateful to Danielle for her excellent work over the past two years to improve representation in Google’s workforce and ensure an inclusive culture for everyone,” Eileen Naughton, Google’s head of people operations, said in a statement to Business Insider. “We’re deeply committed to this work and have made progress, but there’s more we need to do.”
Brown wrote in a LinkedIn post she’ll be joining on as chief people officer at Gusto, a startup that provides human resources software to businesses.
Brown joined on at Google as vice president of employee engagement and head of diversity in June 2017. In the two years since Brown took charge of Google’s diversity efforts, the company has faced a barrage of scandals and controversies.
A few months after Brown started, Google software engineer James Damore released a manifesto saying the company needed to be more tolerant of employees’ conservative viewpoints, and argued women were underrepresented in tech because of “biological causes” that made them inferior to men. Brown was inundated with racist and sexist insults on Twitter after Google fired Damore.
Many ex-Google employees have since come forward with stories of racial and gender discrimination at the search giant, furthering Silicon Valley’s longstanding perception as a “boys’ club.” One former employee told the Guardian that she felt “invisible” at Google and like she “didn’t matter.”
More than 8,000 current and former female employees are currently pursuing a class action lawsuit against Google, alleging pay discrimination.
Later, in October 2018, the New York Times detailed sexual misconduct allegations against senior executives at Google. This specifically included the “father of Android,” Andy Rubin, who was reportedly given a $US90 million exit package when he left the company following an investigation into his behaviour.
In response, Google employees staged a company-wide walkout in protest, with more than 20,000 Googlers participating at company offices around the world. Google announced in February it would end its practice of forced arbitration in all cases, including those involving sexual harassment and discrimination.
Moving forward, Google may be hoping for a fresh start in its diversity and inclusion efforts, even as it appoints this new leader.
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