Ellen Pao resigns as Reddit CEO in fresh sign of turmoil

Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:56pm EDT
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By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Ellen Pao resigned as acting chief executive of Reddit Friday in the latest sign of turmoil at the site, recently roiled by the firing of a popular employee and ongoing tensions over the limits of free speech on its social-news platform.

Reddit co-founder Steve Huffman, also a co-founder of travel site Hipmunk, will become chief executive. Alexis Ohanian, another co-founder who has been working as executive chairman of reddit, will work "alongside" Huffman, said Reddit board head Sam Altman in a statement on Friday.

Controversy erupted around Reddit last week when the company's director of talent, Victoria Taylor, was dismissed. Site volunteer moderators temporarily shut down around 300 discussion sections in protest.

That controversy did not factor into Pao's departure, Altman said in an email.

Pao, who battled her former Silicon Valley employer in court earlier this year, said in a separate statement that she was leaving Reddit because the board had asked for higher growth than she thought was possible.

She joined Reddit in April 2013 and became its acting chief executive in November.

This year, user growth was 70 percent, she said, and mobile usage rose to 47 percent compared to 29 percent last year.

Reddit, known for freewheeling discussions, has attracted a minority group of users who engage in hate speech over racism, women's issues, and other topics.   Continued...

Ellen Pao speaks to the media after losing her high profile gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers in San Francisco, California March 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach