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Meet Reddit’s Interim CEO: Ellen Pao

Meet Reddit’s Interim CEO: Ellen Pao
[Arrow Photo: Isaravut via Shutterstock]

After Yishan Wong resigned as chief executive of Reddit, the community message board announced Thursday that Ellen Pao would step in as interim CEO.

Pao, who did not respond to an inquiry from Fast Company, joined Reddit in 2013 as senior vice president of business development and strategic partnerships, effectively acting as No. 2 to Wong. Under Pao, Reddit made its first investments, including in Imgur, Reddit’s de facto image host, which raised $40 million led by Andreessen Horowitz in April. Reddit said Wong resigned following disagreements with the board over a new office space.

Before Reddit, Pao, an electrical engineering graduate from Princeton who went on to earn her MBA and JD from Harvard, served as a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, sitting on the boards of Flipboard, Lehigh Technologies, and Datameer. The venture capital firm fired her in 2012 after she filed a gender discrimination lawsuit alleging retaliation when she ended an affair with another partner.

Ellen Pao

Before then, Pao, a former corporate lawyer, also held roles at BEA Systems, Tellme Networks, and Microsoft.

A number of changes are afoot at Reddit, and it remains to be seen how the startup will cope amid its leadership shuffle, which also includes Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian returning as executive chairman and Dan McComas, whose company redditgifts was acquired three years ago, being promoted to senior vice president of product. For Pao (and whoever ends up permanently at the helm), challenges ahead involve relocating its remote workers to a new San Francisco office and finding a way to return some of the company’s stock to community members–which Reddit committed to when it raised $50 million in September–possibly through the creation of a new type of cryptocurrency.AT