- HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft, Insider has learned.
- The resignation comes after Insider reported on misconduct allegations against Kipman.
- Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, is planning a reorg. Kipman will stay on through the transition.
HoloLens co-creator Alex Kipman is resigning from Microsoft following Insider’s recent report on allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women employees.
Kipman informed his direct reports about the plans on Tuesday, a person familiar with the matter said. Microsoft cloud boss Scott Guthrie, to whom Kipman reports, is planning a reorganization and Kipman will stay on through the transition, another person familiar with the matter said.
After Insider reported on Kipman’s resignation, Guthrie sent an email explaining organizational changes and saying Kipman plans to leave and “pursue other opportunities.”
“Over the last several months, Alex Kipman and I have been talking about the team’s path going forward,” Guthrie said in his email, viewed by Insider. “We have mutually decided that this is the right time for him to leave the company to pursue other opportunities. I appreciate the tremendous vision Alex has provided to Microsoft over the years, and all that he has done to advance our Metaverse offerings. Alex is committed to helping the teams with the transition process over the next two months and ensuring success before pursuing what is next for him.”
Mixed reality hardware teams will join the Windows + Devices organization under Panos Panay while the software teams responsible for products including Microsoft Mesh mixed reality platform will join the Experiences + Devices division under Jeff Teper, per the email.
Current and former employees alleged that Kipman repeatedly got away with inappropriate behavior toward women employees, including unwanted touching. Kipman did not respond to a request for comment before Insider published its report on May 25. He didn’t immediately respond to another request for comment on Tuesday.
In one instance, Kipman is alleged to have watched a lewd VR video in the office in front of employees, according to a person who was present. The video featured women in skimpy clothing frolicking on a bed and engaging in an overtly sexualized pillow fight. An employee who was present, speaking with Insider later, described the scene as “VR porn.”
Dozens of current and former employees suggested the incident involving Kipman is part of a widespread pattern of executive misconduct — including verbal abuse and sexual harassment — that continues to persist at Microsoft.
Microsoft declined to confirm or deny the specific allegations against Kipman. “Every reported claim we receive is investigated, and for every claim found substantiated there is clear action taken,” the company said in a statement for Insider’s previous report. “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.”
One former executive who worked with Kipman said they witnessed him behave inappropriately toward female colleagues more than once. In one instance, the former executive said, Kipman rubbed a woman employee’s shoulders while she “looked deeply uncomfortable.” The woman shrugged her shoulders, apparently trying to make him stop, but “he would firmly keep doing it,” the executive said. “Who is going to tell him to stop?”
Managers warned employees not to leave women alone around Kipman, according to three sources who said they received such warnings. But last year, employees who say they’ve been subjected to inappropriate interactions with Kipman decided that enough was enough. More than 25 employees shared their experiences as part of a report that was compiled about Kipman, according to someone who contributed to it.
The former executive who worked closely with Kipman said his behavior was curbed only by something even more toxic. “The best thing that happened, sadly, was the pandemic,” the executive said. “So we never had to interact with him in person.”
Are you a Microsoft employee or do you have insight to share? Contact reporter Ashley Stewart via the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-425-344-8242) or email ([email protected]).