Tumblr CEO and founder David Karp steps down after more than a decade

28 Nov 2017

David Karp speaking at Web Summit 2017. Image: Web Summit/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

After more than 10 years at Tumblr, David Karp is moving on from the company.

David Karp founded Tumblr in 2007. Now, after more than a decade at the company, he is moving on to pastures new.

The New York Times reported that Karp announced his departure to staff yesterday (27 November).

In a letter to staff, Karp said: “My decision comes after months of reflection on my personal ambitions, and at no cost to my hopefulness for Tumblr’s future or the impact I know it can have.”

Tumblr is a part of Verizon’s Oath, which includes both AOL and Yahoo, the latter of which acquired Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1bn.

Tumblr COO to take the reins

Jeff D’Onofrio, Tumblr’s COO, will lead the company after Karp leaves by the end of 2017, according to an Oath spokesperson.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Oath said: “David founded Tumblr 10 years ago as a space for the world’s creators, and we thank him for his commitment and passion driving the growth of the platform to almost 380m blogs and over 155bn posts.”

It is unclear at this point what Karp intends to do once he resigns, with many speculating that the numerous corporate reshuffles that have occurred since Tumblr was bought in 2013 could be a major reason for his departure.

Karp looks back on legacy

Regardless of what Karp ends up doing in the future, his leaving the company marks the end of an era for Tumblr.

Referring to D’Onofrio, Karp said: “Jeff is the most capable and caring leader I’ve ever met, which I say with no exaggeration.”

He added: “I look back with so much pride, at a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators and crusaders that have redefined our culture and who we have helped to empower.”

The news comes as the once-ubiquitous platform struggles to compete in a saturated social media and blogging landscape, dominated by newer offerings such as Instagram and Snapchat. For many, though, Tumblr is where it all started.

David Karp speaking at Web Summit 2017. Image: Web Summit/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects