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Ellen Pao resigns from reddit after tumultuous time as CEO

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 11 Jul 2015 16:49

Ellen Pao resigns from reddit after tumultuous time as CEO Yesterday, the saga of Ellen Pao took a somewhat unexpected turn as the executive resigned as CEO of reddit.
She is being replaced by reddit's founder Steve Huffman, who was also the company's original CEO.

Pao was heavily criticized in her 9 months as interim CEO for reddit, with users calling for her resignation for some time. All hell broke loose earlier this month when a popular staff member was let go, and moderators shut down some of the most popular areas of reddit. A change.org petition for Pao to resign saw over 200,000 signatures.

Here is the full statement from Reddit:

Ellen Pao resigned from reddit today by mutual agreement. I'm delighted to announce that Steve Huffman, founder and the original reddit CEO, is returning as CEO.

We are thankful for Ellen's many contributions to reddit and the technology industry generally. She brought focus to chaos, recruited a world-class team of executives, and drove growth. She brought a face to reddit that changed perceptions, and is a pioneer for women in the tech industry. She will remain as an advisor to the board through the end of 2015. I look forward to seeing the great things she does beyond that.

We're very happy to have Steve back. Product and community are the two legs of reddit, and the board was very focused on finding a candidate who excels at both (truthfully, community is harder), which Steve does. He has the added bonus of being a founder with ten years of reddit history in his head. Steve is rejoining Alexis, who will work alongside Steve with the new title of "cofounder".

A few other points. Mods, you are what makes reddit great. The reddit team, now with Steve, wants to do more for you. You deserve better moderation tools and better communication from the admins.

Second, redditors, you deserve clarity about what the content policy of reddit is going to be. The team will create guidelines to both preserve the integrity of reddit and to maintain reddit as the place where the most open and honest conversations with the entire world can happen.

Third, as a redditor, I'm particularly happy that Steve is so passionate about mobile. I'm very excited to use reddit more on my phone.

As a closing note, it was sickening to see some of the things redditors wrote about Ellen. [1] The reduction in compassion that happens when we're all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is Internet between you.

If the reddit community cannot learn to balance authenticity and compassion, it may be a great website but it will never be a truly great community. Steve's great challenge as CEO [2] will be continuing the work Ellen started to drive this forward.

[1] Disagreements are fine. Death threats are not, are not covered under free speech, and will continue to get offending users banned.
Ellen asked me to point out that the sweeping majority of redditors didn't do this, and many were incredibly supportive. Although the incredible power of the Internet is the amplification of voices, unfortunately sometimes those voices are hateful.
[2] We were planning to run a CEO search here and talked about how Steve (who we assumed was unavailable) was the benchmark candidate--he has exactly the combination of talent and vision we were looking for. To our delight, it turned out our hypothetical benchmark candidate is the one actually taking the job.


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