Ellen Pao steps down as interim CEO of reddit while Steve Huffman returns

Adland: 

As detailed in "The Fall Of the house of Reddit", Ellen Pao's short tenure as interim CEO was filled with administrators leaving, being fired, unfulfilled promises and a petition with over 200,000 signatures asking for Pao to step down.

As of 36 minutes ago, we learned that she has. The full statement posted to Reddit of course by Sam Altman says that Steve Huffman founder and original CEO will return to take the reins of the seemingly sinking internet ship. Ellen Pao has said in an interview to the NYT that the board had a disagreement about the future of the company:

“It became clear that the board and I had a different view on the ability of Reddit to grow this year,” Ms. Pao said in an interview. “Because of that, it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view.”

Sam Altman described it as a mutual agreement, and was thankful for what Ellen Pao brough to Reddit during her tenure:

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.

The user upheaval, or #RedditRevolt as it came to be known on social media, showed passionate emotions from users of Reddit, and Sam Altman touches on what seems to have been directed straight at them, and there was even death threats involved even though "Ellen asked me to point out that the sweeping majority of redditors didn’t do this".

As a closing note, it was sickening to see some of the things redditors wrote about Ellen.
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
will be continuing the work Ellen started to drive this forward.
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.
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.

This was expected. Shadowbans and random closing of unpopular subs were a thing long before Ellen Pao became CEO, and they will most likely continue. Reddit will remain in San Francisco. Victoria Taylor will remained "departed from Reddit". Same as it ever was.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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