- Amr Awadallah, the vice president of developer relations at Google Cloud, is leaving the company.
- His departure comes a month after a post describing his “story of redemption” from antisemitism.
- The post sparked backlash from some Googlers who found it “insensitive and problematic.”
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Amr Awadallah, Google Cloud’s vice president of developer relations, is leaving the company, according to an internal email viewed by Insider.
“I wanted to share that today is Amr Awadallah’s last day at Google,” Eyal Manor, Google’s vice president of engineering and product, wrote in the email, sent to Google Cloud employees on Thursday. Manor wrote that the Google Cloud developer-relations team would now report to the Google executive Ben Jackson.
Google confirmed Awadallah’s departure in a statement to Insider but declined to comment on the circumstances of his departure. Before arriving at Google, Awadallah was a cofounder of the data-analysis firm Cloudera and a vice president at Yahoo. Awadallah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Awadallah’s departure comes about a month after the exec published a 10,224-word LinkedIn post in which he described his “story of redemption” from the “hatred” he felt for Jewish people earlier in his life. The LinkedIn post came with a YouTube video, over two hours long, in which Awadallah echoes many of the points made in the blog around Israel, Palestinians, and antisemitism.
Awadallah, who described himself in the LinkedIn post as a “very proud Egyptian-American” and “a proud Muslim with a touch of healthy agnosticism,” said he “was an anti-Semite” but had given up those beliefs and now has a “dream for how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can possible be resolved once the irrational fear is subdued.”
In the post, Awadallah said he intended to speak only for himself and not his employer. Still, his post didn’t sit right with some Googlers, who took to internal forums to voice their discomfort, according to screenshots viewed by Insider.
“Many people within Google, some on this team, found Amr’s recent Linkedin post insensitive and problematic,” one anonymous Googler wrote in an internal forum, according to one of several screenshots seen by Insider. “As the most senior leader of this team, how do you (Amr) respond to people who were hurt or offended by what you wrote?”
Manor’s email did not specify the reason for Awadallah’s departure but thanked employees who “reached out,” saying that it showed “how much you care about building and maintaining a supportive culture.”
“You’ve done some phenomenal work together as a team over the last few months advocating for developers and helping Cloud and AMP in its massive growth,” Manor wrote. “At the same time, I know it has been particularly challenging with a number of organizational changes and leadership transitions we’ve all been navigating a global pandemic and don’t have the benefit of connecting in person together like we used to.”
While it’s not clear to which changes Manor was referring to in his email, Kelsey Hightower, a principal engineer on Google Cloud Platform and a prominent figure on its developer-relations team under Awadallah, announced this week on Twitter that he was leaving that organization to take a customer-facing role. Hightower was not immediately available for comment.
—Kelsey Hightower (@kelseyhightower) July 14, 2021
Awadallah’s departure comes on the heels of another internal controversy surrounding an employee blog post about Israel. One of Google’s top executives in diversity strategy and research, Kamau Bobb, left his role on the diversity team in June after a 2007 blog post resurfaced in which he used antisemitic language.