Google HR chief Eileen Naughton to step down as employee tensions grow

Google human resources chief Eileen Naughton plans to step down later this year to be closer to her family, a Google spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business on Tuesday.

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The news comes as Google employees express increasing dissatisfaction with the company's handling of issues such as sexual harassment, free speech, climate change and pay discrimination.

"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," Naughton said in a statement. Fortune magazine initially reported the news.

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

Time President Eileen Naughton at Time Magazines' Global Health Summit focusing on 10 major global health challenges and recognizing true-life heroes of global health, including men and women working in Africa and Asia. (Photo by Brian Ach/WireImage)

Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai recognized Naughton's accomplishments and confirmed that she will be assuming another position at the company.

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"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," Pichai said in a statement. "We’re grateful to Eileen for all she’s done and look forward to her next chapter at Google."

The company has more than doubled its employee count since 2016 when Naughton took the position, according to Statista.com.

Google parent company Alphabet announced on Jan. 10 that its legal chief, David Drummond, would be leaving at the end of the month, following accusations of inappropriate relationships with employees.

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The announcement came after an estimated 20,000 Google employees staged a global walkout in November 2018 after the tech giant gave executives Andy Rubin and Amit Singhal two severance packages totaling $135 million after they were separately accused of sexual misconduct against colleagues.

People outside the Google offices in Granary Sqaure, London, Thursday Nov. 1, 2018. (Stefan Rousseau/PA via AP)

A number of other Google employees have accused the company of stifling their sexual harassment complaints since then.

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About a year after the walkout, Google fired four employees, including a staffer, who were actively involved in organizing labor protests at the company in November 2019, according to an internal memo.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board opened an investigation into the company's firing of the four employees after they alleged that Google violated labor standards, an agency spokesman confirmed on Dec. 9.

Pichai said the tech giant is "genuinely struggling with some issues — transparency at scale" in a leaked video revealed by The Washington Post in October.

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