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Sundar Pichai. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Tuesday that the company's contrition for handling of past sexual harassment didn't go far enough and promised to take a "much harder line" going forward. Pichai also pledged support for employees who choose to take part in a walkout on Thursday.

Why it matters: Google has come under attack for paying exit packages to executives in who have left in the wake of sexual harassment allegations while continuing the employment of others credibly accused of misconduct.

"I am deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees," Pichai said in an e-mail obtained by Axios. "Larry mentioned this on stage last week, but it bears repeating: if even one person experiences Google the way the New York Times article described, we are not the company we aspire to be."

As first reported by Axios, Richard DeVaul, a director at Google parent X, resigned earlier on Tuesday. DeVaul had been accused of multiple incidents of harassment, including improper conduct with a job applicant.

Here's the complete e-mail, sent to all Google employees:

Hi everyone,
Since last week, I’ve heard from many of you. Some of you wrote me personally. Others have shared their thoughts with leaders and fellow Googlers. One thing that's become clear to me is that our apology at TGIF didn't come through, and it wasn't enough. We hear you.
So first, let me say that I am deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees. Larry mentioned this on stage last week, but it bears repeating: if even one person experiences Google the way the New York Times article described, we are not the company we aspire to be.
I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel. I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too.
As CEO, it’s been personally important to me that we take a much harder line on inappropriate behavior. We have taken many steps to do so, and know our work is still not done. Over the past two years, we have terminated 48 people, including 13 senior managers and above for sexual harassment. None of these people received an exit package. And to clarify: in that time, we have also not provided any exit packages to executives who departed voluntarily in the course of a sexual harassment investigation.  
Some of you have raised very constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. I am taking in all your feedback so we can turn these ideas into action. We will have more to share soon. In the meantime, Eileen will make sure managers are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that you have the support you need.

Go deeper

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 3 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
7 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

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