- Richard DeVaul, who cofounded Alphabet’s Project Loon, has left the company.
- DeVaul resigned less than a week after The New York Times published a report detailing sexual misconduct allegations that were made against him.
- His departure comes as Google employees are planning a walkout to protest the company’s handling of such allegations.
Richard DeVaul, a director at Alphabet’s X – the research lab formerly known as Google X – has left the company following a report of sexual misconduct.
DeVaul left the company on Tuesday, according to Axios, which first reported the news. Alphabet did not pay him a severance package.
His departure comes less than a week after he was mentioned in a New York Times report about how Alphabet has handled charges of sexual misconduct that were made against prominent employees and executives.
While interviewing a female applicant for an engineering job in 2013, when X was still a part of Google, DeVaul essentially told her that he had an open marriage and invited her to accompany him to the Burning Man festival, according to the report. When she met up with him at the festival, thinking she could talk with him about the job, he asked her to remove her shirt so he could give her a back rub, The Times reported. After he insisted, she allowed him to rub her neck, according to the report.
She found out only later that she didn’t get the job at Google. DeVaul told The Times that when he saw her at Burning Man, he didn’t know she hadn’t already been informed that she hadn’t gotten the job. He apologised for the incident in a statement to the paper, calling it an “error in judgement.”
The female engineer reported the incident to Google two years after it happened. She told The Times that company representatives asked her to stay quiet about it. DeVaul remained at the company afterward.
DeVaul is the cofounder of Alphabet’s Project Loon, an effort to deliver internet access to people in developing countries via high-flying balloons. He had been with the X labs since 2011, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was part of its rapid evaluation team, which is designed to reach to quick judgments about the viability of prospective projects.
His resignation comes as Google employees are planning a walkout to protest the company’s handling of the allegations against DeVaul and other executives.
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