Feb 11, 2020 - Technology

Google HR chief exiting amid employee tensions

Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/AFP via Getty Images

Eileen Naughton, Google's head of human resources, is stepping down from her role this year to take on a different, New York-based job at the search giant, the company told Fortune and confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: Naughton's move comes amid a long period of employee tensions over issues ranging from Google's handling of sexual harassment to its work on controversial projects to its policies for contractors. Meanwhile, its headcount has doubled since 2016, adding 70,000 employees in that period.

From Naughton:

"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. I’m at the very beginning of the process, and wanted to let everyone know upfront, as I’ll be working with Sundar and [CFO Ruth Porat] to find a great leader for the People Operations team."

From Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and parent company Alphabet:

"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."

Flashback: Last month, Alphabet's chief legal officer, David Drummond, stepped down amid an investigation over sexual harassment (both his own and his handling of complaints).

What's next: Google will be searching for Naughton's replacement. She didn't disclose what her new position at the company will be.

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