SAN FRANCISCO—Reddit’s Interim CEO, Ellen Pao, has resigned from the post she held for eight months following increased scrutiny by the Reddit user community. In recent months, Pao became a controversial figure among users due to her exercises in leadership that proved unpopular. Reddit, which is based in San Francisco, will see its original co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman return to take over control of its operations.
According to a message posted by Reddit board member Sam Altman on the site, Pao’s resignation was a mutual agreement. The company added that it is grateful for Pao bringing “a face to reddit that changed perceptions,” and praised her as “a pioneer for women in the tech industry.”
Altman also called website users who had attacked Pao during her tenure as interim CEO. “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.”
Much of the scrutiny at Pao stemmed from her having several pages on the site taken down because they criticized her performance as CEO. There were also reports of individual Reddit users being banned because she believed they were directing harassment toward her.
More controversy arose when Reddit’s Director of Talent, Victoria Taylor, was let go on July 2 without formal warning or explanation from the company. Calls for Pao’s resignation soon sprung up in the form of protests on the site and the creation of an online petition on Change.org, which gathered well over 200,000 signatures.
In a statement, Pao expressed her gratitude toward the members of the Reddit community who touched her and even those who attacked her in the past but later apologized.
“I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity.”
Pao, who is a native of San Francisco, will remain as an advisor to the board at Reddit until the end of this year.