Amit Singhal, senior vice president - engineering at Uber, has been asked to step down after it was revealed he allegedly left Google a year earlier on sexual harassment charges. Singhal has denied the charge.
According to media reports, Singhal was asked to leave by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. As per the charge, at the time of recruitment Singhal failed to disclose at Uber the sexual harassment charges at his former employer. This is the reason for his dismissal from Uber.
It was Recode, the technology news portal, that sounded out Uber about charges against Singhal at Google. According to sources cited by Recode, Uber did extensive background check but that did not uncover the allegations.
Singhal acknowledged the dispute with Google to Recode, but denied all allegations. "I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior," the report quoted him as saying in an email.
While quitting Google in February 2016, where he was head of search, Singhal had said in the farewell letter that he would be focusing on philanthropic efforts. In the letter, he had said that in the next fifteen years he would like to give time to the family and also "give back to people who are less fortunate". Singhal worked with Google for 15 years.
Singhal Foundation, set up by Singhal and his wife, have been working among "the most talented under-privileged children" to give them access to high quality education.
However, in October 2016, Singhal joined the board of One97 Communications which owns Paytm, and in January 2017 Uber as senior vice president, engineering.
Singhal decided to join Uber after he met Kalanick through a mutual friend.
“This company is not only doing things that are amazing, this company also has some of the toughest computer science challenges that I have seen in my career of 25 years. Those computer science challenges for a computer science geek are just intriguing – you give a geek a puzzle, they can’t drop it; they need to solve the puzzle. That’s how it felt to me,” Singhal told Tech Crunch in an interview, explaining the rationale behind his move.
For Uber, the move comes at a time when the company is facing charges of sexism and sexual harassment from a former female employee. In a blog post, Susan Fowler alleged she faced sexual harassment at Uber and the human resource department ignored her complaints. The company faced backlash on Twitter after the blog went viral, with detractors trending #deleteUber.
Kalanick swung into action promising urgent investigation into the charges. However, the Singhal episode is likely to dent the company s image further.
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Updated Date: Feb 28, 2017 08:38:30 IST