Andy Rubin, the founder of Smartphone startup Essential, has returned to his company less than two weeks after it was announced he would take a leave of absence, amid questions about an alleged inappropriate relationship.
As of Friday, Rubin ended the personal leave that he took in November after dealing with personal issues, according to two people familiar with his activities. The reason was because an “internal investigation determined that he had carried on an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate” when he served as a top executive at Google.
Rubin has denied any wrongdoing and stressed that the relationship was consensual.
Even while on leave from Essential, Rubin was still able to show up to work at the same physical workplace. That’s because he did not take a similar leave from Playground Global, the venture capital firm he founded, which shares the same office space as Essential. Essential and Rubin declined to comment.
Rubin’s decision to return to Essential will put to rest jitters among the investors about the future of the phone company. Essential has raised $330 million to develop its highly anticipated product.
Rubin, who is the creator of the Android operating system, is a dominant figure in the phone industry. He started Playground in 2015. Playground and Essential are inextricably linked beyond just being in different corners of the same open-space office. Playground led Essential’s first major fundraising round, and Rubin serves as the CEO of both companies. Essential made a splash when it announced the Essential Phone, but the release of the device was greeted by mixed reviews. The company has since cut the gadget’s price by $200, making it $499 in the U.S.