Andy Rubin returns to Essential amid allegations of past inappropriate behaviour

Essential founder Andy Rubin

Less than two weeks after Essential announced Andy Rubin had taken a personal leave of absence from the company, the CEO and co-founder is back at work.

Recode, citing two sources “familiar with his activities,” reports Rubin returned to Essential this past Friday. Company employees learned their boss was away on leave on November 27th, though at the time a spokesperson for the company said Rubin left earlier in the month.

However, it appears Rubin may have never technically left the building. The 100 person team at Essential works out of Playground, a Palo Alto, California-based startup accelerator.

Playground was founded by Rubin.

When Essential announced Rubin was taking a leave of absence, Rubin did not announce a corresponding leave of absence from Playground.

Neither Essential nor Rubin have issued a statement on the reason for his temporary departure. However, Rubin left just as The Information was preparing to publish a report that alleged a Google investigation had found the former Android executive had an “inappropriate” relationship with a female subordinate. A spokesperson for Rubin said any relationship his client may have had while at Google was consensual. At the very least, it appears Rubin took time away from Essential to shield the company from any negative press.

Despite a less than auspicious start and tough competition from the likes of the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone, the Essential Phone seems to have carved out something of a niche for itself, at least here in Canada. Telus, the one carrier that is stocking the smartphone, slashed its price down to $0 on a two-year term and $650 outright, making it competitive with the devices like the recently released OnePlus 5T.

In addition, Essential has been quick to issue updates for many of the camera software issues that were noted in reviews when the smartphone first came out.