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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

Maersk CEO: Global businesses should be wary of politics

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

The CEO of the world's largest container-shipping company cautions that international firms have to be careful of taking political stances.

  • What they're saying: "We cannot run a global business if we start to have views on politics in every single country that we are in," Maersk CEO Søren Skou tells "Axios on HBO."
Mike Allen, author of AM
26 mins ago - Economy & Business

Chamber of Commerce CEO Suzanne Clark defends overture to Democrats

U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Suzanne Clark told me on "Axios on HBO" that the business group was right to endorse vulnerable House Democrats last year, despite the flak that resulted from Republicans.

  • Clark, who took over the top job in March, said those House Democrats "had really helped push business's number one priority, which was the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, over the finish line."
  • "All of the Republicans that we work with on tax, on regulation — those people are really, really important to us," she added: "So we have to be willing to have a different coalition on every issue."

Top nuclear watchdog: "We are flying blind" without Iran deal

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency tells "Axios on HBO" that it's "essential" to have a nuclear deal with Iran because otherwise "we are flying blind."

Driving the news: Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi sat down with "Axios on HBO" at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, ahead of Iran's June 18 presidential election and a June 24 extension on negotiations seeking to restore curtailed surveillance of Iranian nuclear sites and salvage the 2015 deal.

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