Google Kenya boss quits after data scandal

Former Google-Kenya country manager Olga Kimani-Arara: "I felt that the buck stopped with me and I decided to leave. PHOTO | FILE 

Google Kenya country manager Olga Arara-Kimani has left the firm days after the Internet giant said it had taken action against employees implicated in a recent data poaching scandal.

Ms Arara-Kimani, who had been at the helm of the firm’s Kenyan operations when the scandal broke, yesterday said someone had to take responsibility.

“I confirm I have left Google Kenya. As the leader of the Kenya office, I felt that the buck stopped with me and I decided to leave,” she wrote in a phone message to the independent Daily Nation on Monday.

Two weeks ago, Kenyan online business directory firm Mocality accused Google of fraudulently using its data to sell competing product to clients.

Google later apologised over the matter and promised to launch investigations into it to guide its next course of action.

Last Friday, Google’s Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Mr Nelson Mattos, said that investigations into the affair had been concluded.

"We’ve taken appropriate action with the people involved and made changes in our operations to ensure this does not occur again,” said Mr Mattos.

Ms Arara-Kimani’s exit from Google came just three days after the statement was issued.

"It’s a private matter between Olga and Google,” said Google’s head for Sub Saharan Africa, Mr Joe Mucheru, who is running the office until her replacement is found.

Mocality chief executive Stefan Magdalinski had claimed that Google attempted to sell its "Getting Kenyan Businesses Online (GKBO)" products to business owners listed on Mocality’s site by claiming that the two companies were working together.

The Mocality accusations have dealt a major blow to Google’s "do-no-harm image" — an image that was further tarnished when a European company levelled similar claims two days after Mocality did.

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