SAN FRANCISCO — Richard DeVaul, a director at the X unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, resigned from the company on Tuesday after he was accused in a New York Times article published last week of sexually harassing a female job applicant.
Star Simpson, a hardware engineer, said that in 2013, Mr. DeVaul made unwanted advances to her at his encampment at Burning Man, an annual festival in the Nevada desert. It was a week after she interviewed at Google for a job reporting to him.
When Ms. Simpson reported his behavior to Google two years later, a company official told her that her story was “more likely than not” true and that appropriate action had been taken against Mr. DeVaul without explaining what the company had done.
After the article was published, many employees expressed anger and disappointment that Mr. DeVaul was still employed at the company despite Ms. Simpson’s harassment claim.
Women at Google, upset at the company’s handling of accusations against Mr. DeVaul as well as other current and former executives, plan to stage a walkout on Thursday with more than 1,000 people planning to leave Google’s offices in protest.
After Ms. Simpson had reported Mr. DeVaul’s actions, Google continued to promote Mr. DeVaul’s work in news articles.
“It probably feels hard to trust me and X right now, but I want to reassure you that we do take these issues very seriously, we investigate every allegation we receive, and we do what’s right based on the information we have,” Astro Teller, the head of X, the company’s research and development arm, wrote on Friday in an email obtained by The Times.
Mr. DeVaul received no exit package from Alphabet, Google’s parent company, after he resigned, a company spokeswoman said. She declined to elaborate further. Mr. DeVaul’s resignation was reported earlier by Axios.
Mr. DeVaul did not respond to several requests for comment. In a statement before The Times article had published, Mr. DeVaul apologized for an “error of judgment.” He said X decided not to hire Ms. Simpson before she went to Burning Man and that he did not realize she had not been informed.
Mr. DeVaul was an influential figure within the X unit. Until recently, he was the director of rapid evaluation, running a team that weighs the progress of various X projects, deciding which endeavors get killed and which ones get additional funding. In the last few months, he had taken on a new role as the “director of mad science.”