Google’s head of HR, Eileen Naughton, quits amid employee tensions

She led the People Operations at Google.

Eileen Naughton, Vice President of People Operations at Google Inc, will step down from her position this year. She publicized about it later on Monday. Her decision might be an effect of the continuous unrest in the company among its management and employees who are protesting against the company’s workplace culture.

Naughton served the search giant for 14 years as a virtuoso employee, and so Google said that she would remain serving the company with a new role. Though her new role is not defined yet and there are no signs when she takes the new role officially. 

During her tenure, she has seen issues that came across the company which needs her direct or indirect involvement. In the past few years, issues related to cultural shifts popped out, and many of the company’s employees protested against the different matters. 

The company faced sever backlash when it paid over $100 million to multiple executives, including some of who were accused of sexual harassment during the work. It includes top names like Andy Rubin, known as the Father of Android, who received $90 million as compensation when he left the company. 

On it, Activists took charge, and around 20,000 employees walked out of the company in November 2018. 


David Drummond, chief legal officer, also announced to leave the company in January after Sundar Pichai took charge of Alphabet in December. Drummond was named in many sexual harassment allegations, including Jennifer Blakely, his coworker, and his wife. The People Operations department was criticized for punishing Blakely but let go Drummond without any penalty, even though his actions were against the policy of the company.

The tech giant previously made an apology saying that this would be misconduct to its policies regarding sexual harassment. Sill, it was reported that some of the workers feared retaliation for reporting the issue and moved out massively to dissent against the company’s response.

We cannot say if Naughton was involved or no in any decision taken by the company’s management to fire the employees for reporting workplace issues. 

Moreover, the company’s People Operations department was not involved in paying the accusers as it was done under the supervision of Google’s Leadership Development and Compensation Committee. 

However, Naughton’s department motto was “the champions of Google’s culture,” and being a VP of People Operations; she might not be happy what was going on in Google!

Naughton said she is stepping down to stay with her family in New York and she took the decision, not because of any cultural clashes the company is facing. 

“My husband and I have decided – after six years on the road, first in London and now San Francisco – to return home to New York to be closer to our family.” 

Backing up Google’ decision she stated that “I’m at the very beginning of the process and wanted to let everyone know up-front, as I’ll be working with Google’ CEO [Pichai] and Google’ CFO [Ruth Porat] to find a great leader for the People Operations Team.”

Over her years of services at Google, the company thanked her for her major contributions to the company in several areas and highlighted the significant role she played in the growth by helping 70,000+ people to start their career at Google. 

Sundar Pichai’s statement on Eileen Naughton, VP of People Operations

Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai, confirming Naughton would be staying, said in a statement, “Over the past 13 years, Eileen has made major contributions to the company in numerous areas, from media partnerships, to leading our sales and operations in the UK and Ireland, to leading our People Operations team through a period of significant growth during which over 70,000 people started their careers at Google. We’re grateful to Eileen for all she’s done and look forward to her next chapter at Google.”

Featured image: Google

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