- HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft, Insider has learned.
- The resignation comes after Insider reported allegations of misconduct against Kipman.
- Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, is planning a reorganization. Kipman will remain during the transition.
HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft following Insider’s recent report on allegations that he behaved inappropriately towards female employees.
Kipman informed his direct reports of the plans on Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter said. Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, is planning a reorganization and Kipman will remain through the transition, another person familiar with the matter said.
After Insider reported Kipman’s resignation, Guthrie sent an email explaining the organizational changes and saying Kipman planned to leave and “pursue other opportunities.”
“Over the past few months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the way forward for the team,” Guthrie said in his email, seen by Insider. “We mutually decided that now was the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided Microsoft over the years, and all that he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping teams through the transition process over the next couple of months and ensuring success before continuing with what lies ahead.”
The mixed reality hardware teams will join the Windows + Devices organization under Panos Panay while the software teams responsible for products, including the Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform, will join the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper, via e- mail.
Current and former employees have alleged that Kipman repeatedly got away with inappropriate behavior towards female employees, including unwanted touching. Kipman did not respond to a request for comment until Insider released its report on May 25. He did not immediately respond to another request for comment on Tuesday.
In one instance, Kipman allegedly watched obscene virtual reality video in the office in front of employees, according to a person who was present. The video featured women in skimpy clothing frolicking on a bed and engaging in an overtly sexualized pillow fight. An employee who was present, speaking with Insider later, described the scene as “VR porn”.
Dozens of current and former employees have suggested the incident involving Kipman was part of a widespread pattern of executive misconduct — including verbal abuse and sexual harassment — that continues to persist at Microsoft.
Microsoft declined to confirm or deny the specific allegations against Kipman. “Every reported complaint we receive is investigated, and for each complaint found to be justified, clear action is taken,” the company said in a statement for Insider’s previous report. “This disciplinary action can range from termination to demotion, loss of pay or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching or a combination of some of these.”
A former executive who worked with Kipman said he more than once saw him behave inappropriately towards his female colleagues. In one instance, the former executive said, Kipman rubbed an employee’s shoulders when she “looked deeply uncomfortable.” The woman shrugged, seemingly trying to get him to stop, but “he would firmly continue to do so,” the executive said. “Who’s going to tell him to stop?”
Officials warned employees not to leave women alone around Kipman, according to three sources who said they received such warnings. But last year, employees who say they were victims of inappropriate interactions with Kipman decided enough was enough. More than 25 employees shared their experiences as part of a report that was compiled on Kipman, according to someone who contributed to it.
The former executive who worked closely with Kipman said his behavior was only held back by something even more toxic. “The best thing that happened, unfortunately, was the pandemic,” the executive said. “So we never had to interact with him in person.”
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