Despite the feel-good vibe of the Satya Nadella era, Microsoft’s upper executive ranks continue to drown in toxicity, a new report claims. And this one seems to be aimed at bringing down a specific Microsoft executive who has perhaps gone too far.
“With his shoulder-length hair, leather jacket, and fluctuating degrees of stubble, [Microsoft Technical Fellow] Alex Kipman looks as much like the front man of a rock band as he does a tech executive,” a new Business Insider report claims. [He looks more like a homeless person to me, but whatever.] “Interviews with dozens of current and former employees suggest [that] Kipman is part of a widespread pattern of executive misconduct—including verbal abuse and sexual harassment—that continues to persist at Microsoft.”
The report details one such incident that occurred just a few years after CEO Satya Nadella vowed to end the toxic masculinity that had defined the software giant internally since its founding. Apparently, Kipman demonstrated a Mixed Reality headset by displaying “an overtly sexualized pillow fight” involving “several young women in skimpy clothing,” and he did so in a way that was projected so that everyone in the room, including women, could see it. Some simply walked out. But most were outraged.
“Every one of us needs to do our best work, lead, and help drive cultural change,” Mr. Nadella had written to employees the day he became CEO in 2014. “We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen and overestimate what others need to do to move us forward. We must change this.”
He has not changed this, Business Insider alleges. Instead, Nadella’s Microsoft has “a nearly unlimited tolerance for bad behavior by its top rainmakers and developers.” And the Kipman incident, as with others like it, resulted in no punishment of any kind. This despite “a litany of complaints against Kipman,” according to multiple sources.
“He doesn’t like conflict,” one source said of Mr. Nadella. “[Misconduct] is not something he wants to hear about … If he does, he wants someone else to go fix it.”
“Every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken,” a Microsoft statement claims in response to this article. “This disciplinary action can range from termination, to demotion, loss of pay or bonus, official reprimand, mandatory training, coaching, or combination of some of these.”
Can. But hasn’t.