Drummond-David-Article-201905012201The poo-bahs of Alphabet Inc.—the parent company of your favorite search engine Google—must adore David Drummond like a favorite son. How else to explain the extraordinary coddling he seems to enjoy, despite all the mess he’s made at the company?

As you’ve probably heard, Drummond is exiting from his role as the company’s chief legal officer at the end of the month. That was hardly surprising, given his alleged “Mad Men” antics during his tenure.

Let’s break here for a quick recap of the accusations levied against Drummond: You might recall that ex-Google lawyer Jennifer Blakey wrote about their troubled personal relationship this year on Medium in which she recounted how he mistreated and abandoned her and their son. According to Blakely: “I’ve spent the last 11 years taking on one of the most powerful, ruthless lawyers in the world.” In addition, she alleged that he had other affairs with other Google employees, which Drummond has denied. And to top it off, Drummond eventually married another Google employee this fall.

Talk about the intersection of the personal and the professional!

Anyway, if you expected (as I did) that Alphabet would use the occasion of Drummond’s departure to make a strong statement condemning unacceptable behavior in the workplace—some sort of #MeToo reckoning—you are so wrong.

Instead, Alphabet is letting Drummond direct the narrative. When I asked Google about the terms of his departure (which was first reported in Forbes), its spokeswoman emailed me this:

“I can confirm that David Drummond has informed the company that he will be retiring from Alphabet, effective January 31, 2020.” I was also directed to an article in Bloomberg that published Drummond’s departure memo in its entirety.

I won’t bore you with all the corporate gobbledygook in that memo, except to say that Drummond made his departure sound like some sort of magnanimous gesture. He writes: “More than 20 years ago, Larry Page and Sergey Brin first asked me to help them with their unincorporated startup. …. With Larry and Sergey now leaving their executive roles at Alphabet, the company is entering an exciting new phase, and I believe that it’s also the right time for me to make way for the next generation of leaders.”

Drummond makes no mention of the spectacular mess he made during his tenure—much less any type of apology. (I’ve reached out to Drummond for comment but haven’t heard back.)

And Alphabet seems dodgy too. It’s evaded mention of Drummond’s troubles in its communication about his departure. Nor did it answer my query whether his departure is connected to the investigation about sexual misconduct at the company or if the findings of the investigation will be made public.

However, the company spokeswoman did send me a vague statement about how the company formed a “special litigation committee” to look into shareholder claims related to “past workplace conduct” and how that committee is working to “resolve the claims through mediation.” As if that demonstrates some kind of corporate commitment to hold folks accountable.

But one thing the company seems to want the world to know is this: Drummond is leaving without one of Silicon Valley’s fabled severances. “I can confirm David is not getting an exit package,” emailed the spokesperson to me.

I guess that’s supposed to convey the message that Drummond is being punished for his behavior. Indeed, that stands in contrast to how another top Google executive was treated: Andy Rubin took home a $90 million exit package after he was accused of sexual harassment, sparking a worldwide walkout by thousands of Google employees in 2018.

Poor Drummond. He was not so fortunate. And what could be more heartbreaking than to nurture a wildly successful venture from its infancy (Drummond was Google’s first lawyer), then end a brilliant career without so much as a nice exit package?

That’s Willy Loman, Silicon Valley-style.

Most of us, however, would gladly take on Drummond’s suffering. According to Alphabet’s securities filing, he’s sold more than $200 million in Google stock since November. He also pocketed over $47 million in total compensation in 2018. Forbes reports that he “still owns more than 67,000 shares, currently valued at more than $95 million.”

The terms of those financial arrangements were probably long set in stone. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to believe that there’d be hell to be pay for bad behavior in the #MeToo era? Or that companies will no longer stand by their beloved top executives for misconduct?

 Oh, I know, I’m being awfully silly.

Vivia Chen at vchen@alm.com

Twitter: @lawcareerist