SAN FRANCISCO — Google cofounders Larry Page in addition to Sergey Brin have yet to make an appearance at any of the company’s weekly “TGIF” town halls in 2019, BuzzFeed News has learned. Their absence through these meetings, the longest attendance lapse in company history, comes at a time when Google is actually wrestling with tough questions through its employees on a variety of issues, ranging through harassment to censorship.
The town halls give Google employees a chance to ask questions of leadership with no limitations, in addition to are a key element of Google’s transparent workplace culture. They regularly feature an introduction through leadership, a presentation through a team, followed by time for employee questions. For years, Page in addition to Brin have attended, either individually or together, in addition to faced questions through Google’s rank in addition to file about the company in addition to its direction. Asked when their last TGIF appearance was, Google declined to comment.
“I don’t think they’ve ever missed more than a few consecutively, in addition to definitely not both,” one Google employee said. “the idea’s a double act! One of them was consistently always there at minimum.”
Their withdrawal isn’t entirely unexpected, according to a company source. The cofounders planned to step back their Google involvement when they formed Alphabet in 2015 — a holding company that will contains Google proper along with “different bets” in areas such as Waymo’s self-driving cars, in addition to companies focused on life science in addition to anti-aging. The idea was to give Google CEO Sundar Pichai the ability to assert his own leadership during a tumultuous time. The cofounders remain actively involved with the different bets.
“the idea is actually clear to us in addition to our board that will the idea is actually time for Sundar to be CEO of Google,” Page wrote in a post announcing Alphabet’s formation in August 2015. “I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is actually to run the slightly slimmed down Google in addition to that will frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”
although that will is actually their most protracted absence through the meetings at least since 1999, multiple current in addition to former Google employees told BuzzFeed News. Both continued to appear at TGIF meetings following the corporate restructuring in October 2015 through most of 2018. Their unexplained failure to appear in 2019 has puzzled some within the company, who told BuzzFeed News they believe Page in addition to Brin should continue to stand up in addition to be regularly accountable to their employees, especially at that will critical moment.
Google is actually navigating multiple delicate situations internally. The company is actually still negotiating the fallout of an employee walkout last fall that will drew approximately 20,000 Google employees away through their desks in protest of its leadership’s handling of internal sexual harassment. the idea also faced internal blowback over its work on a censored search engine for China, a drone-targeting program called “Project Maven,” in addition to accusations that will is actually has stifled conservative voices within the company.
The past year has put Google’s transparent culture to the test. Internal fights between its teams over a proposed censored Chinese search engine spilled out into public view. Employees resigned en masse when details of a company contract with the Pentagon came to light. in addition to the brand-new York Times published damning internal emails regarding the positioning of that will contract. In response to some of these stumbles, Google created an Advanced Technology External Advisory Council — only to dissolve the group less than a week after the idea was announced because over 2,500 employees signed a petition opposing the appointment of one of its members. in addition to as tensions mounted, employees have leaked live details of all-hands meetings to reporters in addition to even a full video of one such meeting to Breitbart.
currently, recordings of Google’s TGIF meetings are no longer available to Google employees after a few weeks. (Previously they were available for years.) in addition to that will combined with the cofounders’ absence through the town halls has some employees wondering whether Google’s traditionally open culture will hold up.
Google declined to comment just for that will story.