Controversial Reddit CEO Steps Down

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Jul 10, 2015 6:15 PM
Controversial Reddit CEO Steps Down

Ellen Pao, the interim CEO of the popular website Reddit, has stepped down from her post. She will be replaced by original Reddit CEO Steve Huffman. Pao was appointed interim CEO in November 2014.

From the New York Times:

Her exit, which the company described as a mutual agreement between her and Reddit’s board, follows a week of unrest in the Reddit community, which is made up of more than 160 million regular users who use the site to talk about anything from current events to viral cat photos.

Ms. Pao characterized her departure as a result of a disagreement with Reddit’s board on the future of the company.

“It became clear that the board and I had a different view on the ability of Reddit to grow this year,” Ms. Pao said in an interview. “Because of that, it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view.”

(Confused about what this "Reddit" thing is? This video is a handy primer about the ins and outs of the site.)

Pao's departure marked the end of a tumultuous week on the site. Following the firing of popular employee Victoria Taylor, some of the largest sub-sections (subreddits) of the site went "private" in a protest dubbed "Blackout 2015." A "private" subreddit cannot be viewed by non-administrators. Pao, and the rest of the Reddit team, eventually apologized for the way they handled Taylor's firing as well as for past missteps. The deletion of several subreddits under a new harassment policy also spurred controversy against Pao's leadership.

A Change.org petition asking Pao to resigned garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

In March, Pao lost a gender-discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Kleiner Perkins.

The post announcing Pao's resignation received over 20,000 "upvotes" in the hour after it was published on the site.