Ellen Pao, the embattled Reddit CEO whose firing of talent director Victoria Taylor last week sparked a user revolt, is leaving the company. The New York Times reports that Pao is stepping down “by mutual agreement,” and that Reddit cofounder Steve Huffman will assume her role in the interim. Pao will stay at Reddit as an advisor through the end of the year.
Reddit board member Sam Altman has posted a formal announcement on the platform, in which he lauds Pao’s work at the company and beyond:
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”.
According to Re/code‘s Kara Swisher, Pao’s decision to step down was partly a result of diverging interests when it came to the growth of the company. “[The board] had a more aggressive view than I did,” Pao told Swisher. Altman assured Swisher that Pao was not fired, though the events of the past week seemed to indicate things were headed in that direction.
Reddit users had been vocal about their disdain for Pao, spouting racist and sexist comments even prior to Taylor’s firing. A Change.org petition calling for her dismissal racked up more than 200,000 signatures.
Altman is conducting an AMA at the moment, addressing user questions about the upheaval in management and other issues at Reddit.
UPDATE: Pao has posted a note on Reddit, in which she reiterates the alleged reason for her resignation:
So why am I leaving? 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.
Head over to Reddit to read the entire post.