Two Executives Leave Amazon's Audible After Harassment Probe
(Bloomberg) -- Two senior executives at Amazon.com Inc.’s audio-book company, Audible, have abruptly resigned in the midst of a company investigation into workplace harassment.
Chief Content Officer Andrew Gaies and Chief Revenue Officer Will Lopes resigned Monday, Audible Chief Executive Officer Don Katz announced to the staff. Katz didn’t elaborate on the reasons for the resignations, which were reported earlier by The Hollywood Reporter. Gaies was in Audible’s San Francisco office as recently as last week presenting product plans to his team, said a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.
Katz told employees in an email last month that Audible was conducting an internal investigation into workplace culture after a survey found that “some employees feel that Audible is less of a safe space for women than it has been intended to be since founding.” Katz urged employees to come forward with any information about inappropriate behavior and said Audible had hired a third party to conduct confidential interviews, according to the emails reviewed by Bloomberg.
“We will aggressively and appropriately pursue specific incidences that may surface in the process,” Katz promised at the time.
In a subsequent email dated Nov. 20, Katz said the investigation was still under way and urged staffers to speak up. He also stressed that Audible would take action to provide more training to prevent discrimination, harassment and unconscious bias and said the company would consider revising its code of conduct.
An Audible spokesman declined to comment on the reasons Gaies and Lopes left because the company doesn’t disclose details of personnel matters. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment on any possible connection between the investigation and the departures. Attempts to reach Gaies and Lopes through social media platforms were unsuccessful.
Audible was purchased by Amazon in 2008. The Newark, New Jersey, based-company records well-known book titles and produces exclusive radio-style shows and podcasts for a subscription. Entertainment plays a crucial role in Amazon’s effort to reach consumers beyond its core business of selling sneakers, electronics and laundry detergent.
Lopes had worked at Audible since 1999, becoming chief revenue officer in February 2016, according to his LinkedIn biography. Gaies joined Audible in 2012 after three years as a senior corporate counsel for Amazon, according to his LinkedIn biography.
Amazon suspended Roy Price, the head of its film and TV unit, in October after a producer told the Hollywood Reporter he sexually harassed her. Price later resigned.
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.