Google has been rocked by news of an office romance that is being blamed for a split between co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife, and the sudden resignation of another senior male executive who was the former boyfriend of Brin's new love interest.
The fallout could get even more complicated because Brin's wife of six years, Anne Wojcicki, is the sister of the Google senior vice president in charge of product management ads and commerce, Susan Wojcicki.
Google's executive love drama
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Google's executive love drama
Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife are 'living apart', with Brin reportedly involved with a Google staffer.
It was Susan Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley where Brin and his co-founder Larry Page, moved to run their fledgling company in September 1998.
Susan, who has been called "the most important Googler you've never heard of", was employee number 18 at Google. She is currently the highest-ranking female employee at Google.
Brin has an estimated net wealth of $US22.8 billion, according to Forbes, making him the 21st richest billionaire in the world.
His wife is the founder of 23andMe, a company which sells do-it-yourself DNA tests. The company is backed by funds from Google’s venture capital arm and by Brin personally.
A spokesperson for Brin confirmed to the AllThingsD technology site, which first reported news of the break-up, that the couple has been "living apart for several months", adding that "they remain good friends and partners".
Brin's new partner has been identified as Google Glass marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg.
While Brin has no formal role in the Google Glass team, he has been the fledgling product’s key supporter in the Google management ranks and an enthusiastic user of the wearable device.
A collateral casualty from the Brin-Wojcicki separation is Hugo Barra, Google’s vice president of Android product management and the man who announced his resignation on Thursday to take up at senior role at Chinese smartphone maker, Xioami. Sources closed to the matter deny those events are related.
Barra, who presided over the launch of the flagship Google Nexus tablet in 2012 at the annual Google I/O developers' conference and played a high-profile role at this year’s event, has been named as Rosenberg's former boyfriend.
Barra announced his departure on the Google + social network saying that after five-and-a-half years at Google, he was off to "start a new career path" in China.
Xioami, sometimes known as the Apple of China, is a manufacturer of smartphones which has grabbed a large slice of the budget market over recent years.
Xioami's founder, Lei Jun, doesn't hide the fact that he is a big fan of the Apple/Steve Jobs management style, even to the extent that he adopts the jeans and sneakers look favoured by Jobs.
It is unusual for such a senior Silicon Valley executive with no formal or familial ties to China to leave for a Chinese competitor.
Barra’s sudden departure is being seen as a blow to the Android division which only recently saw its founder, Andy Rubin, step down to take up a new role at Google.
AllThingsD, which is part of the Wall Street Journal stable of publications, said it was understood that Brin and Wojcicki had signed a prenuptial agreement. The couple also have two young children.