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Google Exec Clouded by Scandal a Veteran Silicon Valley Counsel

Oct. 25, 2018, 10:42 PM

David Drummond, the chief legal officer of Google parent Alphabet Inc. and a one-time Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner, had an extramarital affair and fathered a child with a subordinate who was later asked to leave her post, the New York Times reported.

Drummond was among a handful of senior executives cited in the report, which indicated that Google has taken a lax approach to relationships between supervisors and their subordinates, to the detriment of the lower level employees.

Asked to comment on the Times report by Bloomberg Law, Google provided a copy of an email sent to employees by CEO Sundar Pichai and Eileen Naughton, VP People Operations, saying the company was “dead serious” about making sure it offers a “safe and inclusive workplace.”

It has taken an “increasingly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority” and updated company policy to “require all VPS and SVPs to disclose any relationship with a co-worker regardless of reporting line or presence of conflict,” the email said.

Drummond, who is also chairman of CapitalG, Alphabet’s venture capital fund, is one of the better known and longer serving in-house legal chiefs in Silicon Valley.

He has worked with Google since 1998 while he was a partner in the corporate transactions group at Wilson Sonsini.

According to his bio, Drummond served as the company’s first ever outside counsel, and helped its founders incorporate Google and secure early funding.

Drummond had an extramarital relationship starting in 2004 with Jennifer Blakely, who was an in-house senior contract manager at Google, where Drummond began work in 2002 as general counsel, the Times said.

The report, which cited Blakely and other Google employees, said she and Drummond had a son in 2007. Thereafter, it said, Drummond disclosed the relationship to the company—and Blakely was asked to leave because relationships between managers and subordinates were “discouraged.”

Blakely then worked in sales at Google for a time before leaving the Mountain View, Calif.-based company in 2008, according to the report, the same year her relationship with Drummond ended.

She told the Times that upon leaving Google she “signed waivers, releases and whatever else they wanted” to assert that she had left the company voluntarily.

“Google felt like I was the liability,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Crawley at; Jessie Kokrda Kamens at