Google separates with Cloud VP after employees complain about manifesto

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Google Cloud headquarters sits in Sunnyvale, California.

Google Cloud

Google has parted ways with its VP of developer relations for Google Cloud after a contentious all-hands meeting.

“I wanted to share that today is Amr Awadallah’s last day at Google,” wrote Vice President of Engineering & Product for Google Cloud Eyal Manor in an email to staff Thursday evening and viewed by CNBC. “Effective immediately, the Cloud DevRel organization will report into Ben Jackson, who will report into Pali Bhat.”

Manor goes on to praise the team for helping Cloud’s “massive growth” while thanking them for reaching out about cultural issues. “I know it has been particularly challenging with a number of organizational changes and leadership transitions while we’ve all been navigating a global pandemic and don’t have the benefit of connecting in person together like we used to.”

Vice President of Developer Relations for Google Cloud Amr Awadallah, who joined the company in 2019, wrote a 10,000-word manifesto about his previous anti-semitism on LinkedIn in June called “We Are One,” which relies mostly on personal anecdotes. CNBC began speaking with several employees who described a contentious staff meeting on Wednesday, which touched on the manifesto. CNBC also viewed internal documentation of complaints. The meeting replay was sent to more than 100 employees from the team Thursday, employees said.

“Thank you to those of you who reached out,” Manor goes on to say in the departure announcement email. “It shows how much you care about this organization and building a maintaining a supportive culture.”

Google declined to comment.

Awadallah, who is well-known in the cloud industry, also posted his manifesto on YouTube and Twitter in attempts to decry antisemitism by recounting how he became enlightened after he “hated all jews.” In an awkward attempt to decry hate amid the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he listed all the Jews he knew that were good people. Employees said his public admission, which omitted major historic Jewish events, made it difficult for public-facing developer advocates who are tasked with being the face and bridge for Google developers internally and externally. 

Within the manifesto, Awadallah describes how he was “cautious” of VMware co-founder Mendel Rosenblum based on his last name but that he learned to appreciate them after getting to know him and spouse and other VMware co-founder (and former Google Cloud CEO) Diane Greene, who both invested in his company Cloudera.

The contention and departure one month after the manifesto come as Google faces questions about how it handles diversity among its leaders and the doubled-standard rank and file employees feel with leadership. Employees said they often faced reprimand for far less offensive for social media posts.

Employees who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, said the frustration with Awadallah’s leadership style had been building for months, leading up to an all-hands meeting this week, where employees confronted him about their discomfort with his manifesto, working with him and the leadership attrition of his reporting leaders. The meeting, employees said, required mediation from a human resources employee who had to step in several times.

“On one hand, I’m grateful that you not longer hate my children,” said one Director of Network Infrastructure and Tech Site Lead at Google in a LinkedIn comment. “On the other, this has made my job as one of your colleagues much harder. The previous situation has made being a Jewish leader at Google tough. This has made it almost untenable.”

“I hated the Jewish people. All the Jewish people,” Awadallah opens with in his “Confession” in both text and on a YouTube video. Awadallah criticized Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a now-deleted tweet because he was denied a paid promoted post.

While Awadallah in his manifesto acknowledged his prior prejudice in apparent pursuit of “peace,” he uses anecdotes and personal stories to try and make a point about why his current assertions are correct. One way he does this is by sharing his 23andMe results, which showed he was 0.1% Ashkenazi Jewish, which he typed in boldface as a reason for why he’s technically Jewish, too. Employees said Awadallah had previously used his 23andMe results to justify his opinions.

Google Cloud Developer Relations VP Amr Awadallah tweeted at Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey because the site determined his post was considered hate speech.

“I admire many Jewish people as I shared earlier, but I will also tell you this with unwavering conviction: The Jewish people aren’t any more special than the Christian, Black, Hispanic, White, Muslim, Asian, Arab peoples or any other group of people for that matter,” his manifesto read.

When employees expressed their discomfort at the all-hands meeting Wednesday, the executive doubled down on his manifesto and insisted employees misunderstood, they said.

A Google Cloud VP tweeted a “confession” about antisemitism.

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