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Uber exec resigns amid harassment claim at former employer

The ride-hailing company asks engineering chief Amit Singhal to step down for failing to disclose sexual harassment allegations against him at Google.

Google's former search honcho Amit Singhal joined Uber in January 2016 (pictured here with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick).
Twitter/Screenshot by CNET

Uber just lost one of its key executives.

Amit Singhal, the ride-hailing company's senior vice president of engineering, stepped down Monday after the company discovered he'd allegedly been accused of sexual harassment while he was employed at Google.

Singhal joined Uber last month after 15 years as Google's head of search. Singhal didn't disclose the harassment allegation against him when he was interviewing at Uber. When it was discovered, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick personally asked Singhal to resign.

In an email, Singhal denied the allegations.

"I certainly want everyone to know that I do not condone and have not committed such behavior," Singhal wrote. "In my 20-year career, I've never been accused of anything like this before and the decision to leave Google was my own."

Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The departure, reported earlier by Recode, comes at a chaotic time for Uber. Susan Fowler, a former Uber engineer, wrote a blog post alleging she and other female employees at the company were sexually harassed. She also detailed a companywide culture of sexism and unprofessional business practices. The post was followed shortly by a lawsuit alleging Uber stole company secrets from Google for its self-driving car project.

Uber reportedly learned of the alleged sexual harassment when Recode inquired about it for its reporting, the publication said.

According to the Recode report, Singhal allegedly sexually harassed a female employee in a different department at Google and she filed a formal complaint against him. The employee didn't want to go public and further details of the incident aren't available, Recode reported.

After an internal investigation, Google reportedly found her allegations "credible" and was planning to fire Singhal, according to Recode. Singhal denied the allegations but resigned in February 2016, the publication said.

At the time, he said he was leaving to spend more time with his family.

Singhal joined Uber in January saying he'd always been a fan of the company. The more he learned about its technology, he said, the more he realized it offered one of the most difficult -- and therefore most fun -- computer science and engineering challenges in the world today.

"Uber is a geek's candy store," Singhal wrote in a blog post last month. "I can't wait to get started applying computer science to the real world, for real people, to improve real lives."

First published Feb. 27, 1:23 p.m. PT.

Update, 3:17 p.m.: Adds comment from Amit Singhal.

Update, 4:10 p.m.: Adds additional background.

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