Tom Preston-Werner, the brash co-founder of popular code-sharing site GitHub and a former CEO of the company, has resigned amid a harassment investigation that found errors in judgment were made.
Preston-Werner had been the target of allegations that he and his wife had verbally harassed employee Julie Ann Horvath, with claims of sexism brought up last month. Horvath has since left the company.
"The investigation found no evidence to support the claims against Tom and his wife of sexual or gender-based harassment or retaliation or of a sexist or hostile work environment," said new CEO Chris Wanstrath, in a blog post today. "However, while there may have been no legal wrongdoing, the investigator did find evidence of mistakes and errors of judgment. In light of these findings, Tom has submitted his resignation, which the company has accepted."
In his own blog post today, Preston-Werner said he is moving over to the virtual reality technology field, also known as immersive computing, following a visit with Oculus VR. "Today is my last day at GitHub. Recent events have given me a lot of time to reflect on what's important to me, and I've decided to switch gears and focus on building something from scratch again."
Preston-Werner defended his actions at GitHub: "With every decision I made at GitHub and in every interaction I had with employees, I tried to treat people better than they expected and to resolve conflict with empathy. Despite that, I've made mistakes, and I am deeply sorry to anyone who was hurt by those mistakes. It devastates me to know that I missed the mark and I will strive to do better, every day. That said, I want to be very clear about one thing: neither my wife, Theresa, nor I have ever engaged in gender-based harassment or discrimination." Remaining at GitHub, however, would serve as a distraction for the company and himself, said Preston-Werner, who stepped down as CEO in January.
GitHub, Wanstrath said, is now implementing initiatives and training to make sure employee concerns are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately. "We know we still have work to do."
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