- HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is stepping down from Microsoft, Insider found.
- The resignation comes after Insider reported allegations of misconduct against Kipman.
- Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, plans to reorganize. Kipman will remain on during the transition.
HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman resigns from Microsoft after Insider’s recent report of allegations that he treated employees inappropriately.
Kipman informed his direct subordinates of the plans on Tuesday, a man familiar with the matter said. Microsoft’s cloud chief Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, is planning a reorganization, and Kipman will remain, after the transition, another person familiar with the matter.
After Insider reported on Kipman’s resignation, Guthrie sent an e-mail explaining the organizational changes and stating that Kipman planned to leave and “take advantage of other opportunities.”
“Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s way forward over the last few months,” Guthrie said in an e-mail that Insider reviewed. “We mutually decided it was the right time to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. I appreciate Alex’s tremendous vision over the years and everything he has done to advance our Metaverse offering. Alex is committed to to help teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensure success before continuing with what awaits them. “
The mixed reality hardware teams will join Windows + Devices under Panos Panay, while the software teams responsible for the products, including the Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform, will join the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper, via email.
Current and former employees have claimed that Kipman has repeatedly escaped inappropriate behavior towards employees, including unwanted touches. Kipman did not respond to a request for comments until Insider released its report on May 25. He did not respond immediately to another request for comment on Tuesday.
In one case, Kipman allegedly watched a lewd VR video in the office in front of employees, according to the person present. The video featured women in sparse clothes frolicking in bed and engaging in an apparently sexualized pillow fight. The employee who was present later spoke to Insider, describing the scene as “VR porn”.
Dozens of current and former employees have said that the Kipman incident is part of a widespread pattern of executive misconduct – including verbal assault and sexual harassment – that persists at Microsoft.
Microsoft has refused to confirm or refute specific allegations against Kipman. “Every reported claim we receive is investigated and clear action is taken for each claim found to be substantiated,” the company said in a statement to Insider’s previous report. “This disciplinary procedure may range from termination, through degradation, loss of salary or bonuses, official reprimand, compulsory training, coaching or a combination of some of them.”
A former executive who worked with Kipman said they had witnessed his inappropriate behavior toward colleagues more than once. In one case, said the former CEO, Kipman rubbed the employee’s shoulders while she “looked deeply uncomfortable.” The woman shrugged, apparently trying to get him to stop, but “he would continue to do so,” the CEO said. “Who will tell him to stop?”
Managers warned employees not to leave women around Kipman alone, according to three sources who said they had received such a warning. Last year, however, employees who said they had been exposed to inappropriate interactions with Kipman decided that was enough. More than 25 employees shared their experiences in a report on Kipman, according to someone who contributed to it.
The former manager, who worked closely with Kipman, said his behavior was limited by something even more toxic. “The best thing that unfortunately happened was the pandemic,” the CEO said. “So we never had to communicate with him in person.”
Are you a Microsoft employee or do you want to share your knowledge? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via the Signal Encrypted Messaging application (+ 1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).
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