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KERR-PAO! Reddit interim CEO Ellen quits amid Redditor revolt
Now she can spend more time with her lawsuit
Ellen Pao has resigned as CEO of Reddit following a week of turmoil and controversy over her recent management decisions.
"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," wrote reddit board member and Y Combinator president Sam Altman.
Taking Pao's place as chief exec is Steve Huffman, reddit's founder and its first CEO.
"We're very happy to have Steve back," Altman wrote. "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."
Pao's departure comes following a user revolt that was sparked by the unexpected sacking of popular reddit staffer Victoria Taylor. During the past week, many of reddit's unpaid volunteer moderators shut down their sections of the site in protest of Taylor's firing and many called for Pao to quit.
Pao's public resignation letter acknowledged none of it, however. "Ultimately, the board asked me to demonstrate higher user growth in the next six months than I believe I can deliver while maintaining reddit's core principles," she wrote.
In addition, she and Altman both criticized the sometimes vitriolic comments leveled at Pao by reddit users during the imbroglio, which apparently included death threats.
"In my eight months as reddit's CEO, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit," Pao wrote. "The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity."
Following the announcement, Altman responded to questions on the /r/IAmA/ subreddit – ironically, perhaps, because that Q&A forum was the first to go dark last week in response to Taylor's dismissal.
When asked whether Taylor would be reinstated, however, Altman responded, "I honestly know almost nothing about that situation, sorry."
Altman did not give many details as to the discussions that led to Pao stepping down, except to suggest that it was not a snap decision.
"She resigned. Thankfully, she did it [in] a thoughtful way that gave us time to hire a successor and have a smooth transition," he wrote.
Pao's resignation letter gave no indication of what she has planned next, but she certainly won't be idle. In 2012 she sued her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for gender discrimination, and while a jury denied her claim in March, she has appealed the verdict. ®