Reddit CEO resigns in power shuffle, Ellen Pao named as interim

14 Nov 2014

Yishan Wong, Reddit’s CEO since 2011, has resigned from the company under circumstances that were initially unclear. Reddit’s business and partnerships strategist, Ellen Pao, has been named interim CEO.

In what appears to be a major power shuffle within the ranks of the company whose website is self-described as the ‘front page of the internet’, the company’s figurehead and co-founder, Alexis Ohanian posted to the Reddit blog to explain the situation.

While not confirming the reason why Wong has decided to leave the company, Ohanian said in his post that despite Wong’s sudden departure, they wish him well in the future.

“We are grateful for his contributions over the last few years, including growing Reddit from 35m to 174m, and we have a team in place to ensure that Reddit’s best years are still ahead of it.”

However, in a blog post discussing Wong’s departure, an adviser to Reddit, Sam Altman, wrote in his own blog that Wong’s issue with the company related to Reddit’s decision to ask their employees to move to their office in San Francisco, California, or face losing their job.

‘We didn’t ask him to resign’

“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,” Altman wrote.

The company has been undergoing considerable turmoil in recent months. Last September, Reddit decided to sell 10pc of its company at the same time it attempted to clamp down on the posting of hundreds of nude celebrity images.

Wong himself tweeted a message soon after the move to the new office was made clear to staff and, in responding to questions online, hinted that the decision was not met with universal agreement.

In the meantime, Pao has been named Reddit’s interim CEO after holding the second-in-command position for the last two years. During that time, she lead the site’s mobile division, the launch of Reddit’s AMA app, and the acquisition of Alien Blue, Reddit’s official mobile client.

Reddit image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic