Sometimes an empty chair can speak volumes.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence intentionally set up an unoccupied seat to shame Google parent company Alphabet at Wednesday's hearing on foreign meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The committee wanted either Alphabet CEO Larry Page or Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai to testify alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, but the company offered its top lawyer and senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, instead. That decision rankled committee leaders Sen Mark Warner, D-Va., and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who rejected the substitution, hence the pointedly vacant chair.
"I'm disappointed Google decided against sending the right senior level executive," Burr, the chair of the committee, said in his opening remarks.
Warner, vice chair of the committee, echoed Burr's statement.
"I'm deeply disappointed that Google — one of the most influential digital platforms in the world – chose not to send its own top corporate leadership to engage this committee," Warner said.