Alphabet Lawyer Sold $145 Million of Stock Before Page Exit
(Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc. legal chief David Drummond unloaded about $145 million of stock -- his biggest share sale on record -- in the weeks before co-founder Larry Page stepped down as chief executive officer.
Drummond sold $72 million of stock in early November and an additional $73 million on Dec. 2, regulatory filings show. The latter disposal occurred a day before the Google parent announced that Sundar Pichai would succeed Page as CEO and become Drummond’s boss.
While he has sold stock periodically since joining the firm in 2002, Drummond has divested almost twice as much this year as he did in 2018. He was Google’s first lawyer and ran the search giant’s legal and corporate development arms for years before shifting to Alphabet in 2015.
Last year, Drummond was accused of having had a relationship with a female employee in the legal department. The woman, Jennifer Blakely, later came forward, saying Drummond abandoned her and their child and repeatedly violated rules governing workplace relationships.
Drummond, 56, has said the two underwent a difficult breakup and that he never started a relationship with anyone else at company.
But the details, coupled with accusations of misconduct by other senior Google executives, gave more fuel to critics who said that the company hadn’t done enough to reform a culture where powerful men weren’t penalized for inappropriate relationships or sexual misconduct. Last year, thousands of Google employees worldwide walked off the job in protest.
This year, Alphabet’s board began investigating how misconduct matters were handled. The company no longer requires that workers sign away their right to challenge it in court. Some other executives accused of misconduct have left the company.
A Google spokeswoman declined to comment or to make Drummond available for comment.
Insider sales are closely watched by some investors to gauge management’s confidence in the business. That said, executive stock sales are hardly unusual. Most public-company bosses receive the bulk of their compensation in equity and periodically dispose of some of it to diversify their wealth.
Drummond, whose most recent transactions were made under a pre-arranged stock-trading plan, has sold about 120,000 shares worth roughly $157 million so far this year. Regulatory filings suggest he collected most of those shares by exercising stock options with expiration dates from December 2020 through April 2022. The sales figures don’t exclude the cost of exercising those options.
Drummond married another Google employee earlier this year, according to Axios.
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