Andy Rubin takes leave from Essential, as reports of an improper relationship at Google surface

Andy Rubin has taken a leave of absence from Essential. The phone maker’s founder and CEO will be taking time off from the company to “deal with personal matters,” a spokesman for the company confirmed with TechCrunch this morning.

According to a statement, Rubin announced his intention at a board meeting earlier this month. “The board agreed,” the spokesman writes, “and our President, Niccolo de Masi, will continue to run day to day operations at Essential.”

Essential isn’t offering any detail beyond that statement, but Rubin reportedly announced the decision to his staff on Monday after The Information told the executive’s spokesman that it was working on a story about his 2014 exit from Google.

The site reports that Rubin left Google after a woman made a complaint to HR detailing her relationship with the executive. The employee was said to be working for the company’s Android division while Rubin was still in charge — a relationship prohibited by Google’s rulebook.

An investigation launched into the matter found that Rubin’s relationship “was improper and showed bad judgement.” The new report surfaces as a series of allegations of sexual misconduct have had wide reaching impact across industries, including, earlier today, the firings of NBC’s Matt Lauer and public radio’s Garrison Keillor.

Mike Sitrick, now serving as a spokesman for the CEO, didn’t outright deny the report that Rubin carried on a relationship during his time at Google, but did tell the site that he was not reprimanded by the company over it.

“Any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual, and did not involve any person who reported directly to him,” he said. “Mr. Rubin was never told by Google that he engaged in any misconduct while at Google and he did not, either while at Google or since.”

At the time of his exit, Rubin was heading Google’s newly formed robotics division, a wing that failed to pick up much steam in spite of numerous high-profile acquisitions. At the time, Rubin told the press he was leaving in order to create the incubator that would become known as Playground, where Essential was first developed. He simply stated that he wanted to build something on his own.

Asked if Rubin’s new leave of absence was a result of these new reports coming to light, the Essential spokesperson would not offer any additional comment. Google declined to provide comment for this story.