When Reddit CEO Yishan Wong announced that the crowd-sourced news site had raised $50 million, he called his financiers "patient, long-term investors who support our views on difficult issues." But less than two months later that patience seems to have run out and over a suspiciously simple dispute.
Last week, Yishan Wong resigned from reddit.
The reason was a disagreement with the board about a new office (location and amount of money to spend on a lease). To be clear, though, we didn't ask or suggest that he resign—he decided to when we didn't approve the new office plan.
Ellen Pao, Reddit's head of business and partnerships, will serve as interim CEO. Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, who also invested in the round with Altman, is returning to the fold. Ohanian, a serial startup multi-tasker, will serve as the company's full time executive chairman.
This is vindication for Pao, the former investor whose harassment lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins opened the door for other women to discuss gender discrimination in the tech industry.
Altman's floor space theory may be hard to wrap your head around, but frugality does have some very recent precedence. Why, it was only in September when investors remembered to add a flame retardant to Silicon Valley's bonfire of the capital. Altman told the Wall Street Journal that Wong departed suddenly and wanted to move to Daly City "and spend more money than the board was comfortable with."
Mr. Wong also recently had a public argument with a former employee of the site in which he laid out the terms of his former employee's termination in excruciating detail. That incident, according to people close to the company, made some of Reddit's current employees uncomfortable.
The paper doesn't mention Wong's clumsy, confusing, and delayed reaction to users sharing leaked celebrities nudes through a dedicated sub-Reddit called the Fappening. But the Times does note that Reddit "failed to attract the type of revenue it would like."
The Journal says Pao's "ascendance" is a turning point for Reddit:
Both Ohanian and Altman said they expect Pao will become the permanent CEO, though the company will evaluate all their options.
"This is technically Ellen's job to lose," Ohanain said.
Since Redditors are so fond of sleuthing, I'd love to see other examples of an interim CEO who was publicly told it was his job to lose.
Update: Ohanian responded on Twitter.
@nitashatiku disappointed you put my quote in such a context. I have total confidence in Ellen as CEO and I’m grateful we have her.
— Alexis Ohanian (@alexisohanian) November 14, 2014
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[Image via LinkedIn]