Essential and Andy Rubin aren’t splitting permanently, but the company’s founder and leader is taking a leave of absence for “personal reasons” relating to a report published on Tuesday. The report, which comes from The Information, reveals back in 2014 an investigation launched by Google discovered an “inappropriate relationship” between Rubin and a woman on his Android team.
Details of the alleged relationship aren’t known. What we’re sure about, though, is the timing. Rubin stopped working on Android in March 2013 to work on robotics. The investigation came in 2014, so it’s entirely possible Rubin was told to switch teams as the company looked into everything. Google has a policy in which two individuals in a personal relationship must disclose their status and work on different teams.
If Rubin was indeed in a relationship with this the unidentified woman, that might explain why he abruptly left Android. He also exited Google at the end of 2014. Rubin denies the allegations. His spokesperson denies any wrongdoing by the industry legend.
Here’s a statement released on Rubin’s behalf:
“Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual. Mr. Rubin was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since.”
Neither Essential nor Google have responded to the report or any media outlets’ requests for comment. The report does suggest Rubin announced his leave of absence to Essential employees on Monday prior to everything going public.
We’ll be following this story closely as Essential relied heavily on Andy Rubin to get its first product, the PH-1, out to the market in 2017.