Entrepreneur

Urban Airship chief executive takes ‘extended leave of absence’ amid sexual assault allegations

Image Credit: Flickr: thekirbster

The tech industry has been rocked by a lot of misogynistic controversy lately, with a variety of responses from the embroiled companies and their male executives. Today mobile startup Urban Airship took the leave-of-absence route.

In a note to its employees, which the company also posted online, Urban Airship’s Scott Kveton announced that he is taking an “extended leave of absence” from the company. Until now, Kveton was Urban Airship’s chief executive. Chief financial officer Mike Temple is now the company’s interim chief executive.

The resignation comes after allegations of rape from an ex-girlfriend became public last week, although the company has declined to address the matter, only telling the media that “it’s clearly a very personal, private matter for Scott.” Kveton’s ex-girlfriend has accused him of raping her in 2012 and 2013 and of videotaping the events as part of a fantasy.

In his resignation letter, Kveton said that although he and Urban Airship’s board of directors have been planning to find him a replacement for quite some time, the current situation made it clear that his “transition timing needed to accelerate.”

He wrote:

So effective immediately, I am going on an extended leave of absence to focus on resolving this situation. I care way too much about Urban Airship to try to resolve this issue and simultaneously lead the company. You deserve someone who has complete focus on the business without distraction.

As mentioned, this is only the latest in a long series of recent cases of tech executives being accused of misogeny, sexual harrassment, and assault against women. Most recently, Tinder’s Justin Marteen was accused of harassing former marketing executive, possible co-founder, and ex-girlfriend Whitney Wolfe. The company has temporarily suspended Marteen, although chief executive Sean Rad claims the lawsuit against Wolfe is “full of factual inaccuracies and omissions.”

In April, following accusations from former employee Julie Horvath over harassment, discrimination, and intimidation, GitHub’s then-president Tom Preston-Werner resigned after an independent investigator found that while the company’s culture was not actually sexist, Preston-Werner and his wife did behave inappropriately.

As a private company, GitHub could have gotten away with keeping its executive team unchanged, but it probably also felt that making a statement about not tolerating any transgressions would be a better decision for all its stakeholders. That could also be the case for Urban Airship and Kveton.

In late April, marketing automation company RadiumOne fired its chief executive, Gurbaksh Chahal, following his guilty plea to domestic violence and battery misdemeanor charges.

Kveton founded Portland, Ore.-based Urban Airship with Adam Lowry, Michael Richardson, and Steven Osborn in 2009.

More information:

Urban Airship enables brands to build relationships with their constantly connected customers through Mobile Relationship Management. Its solutions streamline the creation, delivery and management of highly targeted cross-platform mobi... read more »

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