- HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is stepping down from Microsoft, Insider has learned.
- The resignation comes after insiders reported misconduct allegations 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 stepping down from Microsoft after Insiders recently reported allegations that he was inappropriate towards female employees.
Kipman informed his direct reports of the plans on Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter said. Microsoft cloud chief Scott Guthrie, who reports to Kipman, is planning a reorganization and Kipman will stay on through the transition, another person familiar with the matter said.
After Insiders reported Kipman’s resignation, Guthrie sent an email outlining organizational changes and saying Kipman plans to leave and “pursue other opportunities.”
“For the past few months, Alex Kipman and I have been discussing the team’s future path,” Guthrie said in his email, which was seen by Insider. “We decided together that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years and everything he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping the teams through the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing what’s next for him.”
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 the e-mail.
Current and former employees alleged that Kipman repeatedly got away with inappropriate behavior towards female employees, including unwanted touching. Kipman didn’t respond to a request for comment before Insider released his report on May 25. He did not immediately respond to another request for comment Tuesday.
In one case, according to a person present in the office, Kipman watched a suggestive VR video in front of the employees. The video showed women in skimpy clothing frolicking on a bed and engaging in an overtly sexualized pillow fight. A staff member who was present later described the scene as “VR porn” when speaking to Insider.
Dozens of current and former employees pointed out that the Kipman incident is part of a widespread pattern of executive misconduct — including verbal abuse and sexual harassment — that continues at Microsoft.
Microsoft declined to confirm or deny the specific allegations against Kipman. “Each reported claim we receive will be investigated, and clear action will be taken on each confirmed claim,” the company said in a statement for Insider’s previous report. “This disciplinary action can range from termination to demotion, forfeiture of salary or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching or a combination of any of these.”
A former executive who worked with Kipman said she saw him behave inappropriately towards female colleagues on more than one occasion. In one instance, the former executive said, Kipman rubbed an employee’s shoulders while she “looked deeply uncomfortable.” The woman shrugged, apparently trying to get him to stop, but “he would keep doing it firmly,” the executive said. “Who’s going to tell him to stop?”
Managers warned employees not to leave women alone near Kipman, according to three sources who said they received such warnings. But last year, employees who said they had been subjected to inappropriate interactions with Kipman decided enough was enough. More than 25 employees shared their experiences in a report compiled on Kipman, according to someone who contributed to it.
The former executive, who worked closely with Kipman, said his behavior was only slowed down 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 personally.”
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