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Reddit CEO Ellen Pao resigns; co-founder Steve Huffman appointed to lead the site

Ellen Pao resigned as acting CEO of Reddit

Ellen Pao resigned as acting CEO of Reddit on Friday, July 10, 2015. Photo Credit: Getty / Justin Sullivan

Ellen Pao has resigned as acting chief executive of social news platform Reddit, following criticism and temporary shutdowns of key parts of the site by volunteer moderators angry about the firing of a popular employee. 

In a post on Reddit, Pao thanked her supporters, writing that during her eight months as CEO she had "seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit." 

"So why am I leavinga Ultimately, the board asked me to demonstrate higher user growth in the next six months than I believe I can deliver while maintaining reddit's core principles," she wrote.

She indirectly refers to the recent criticisms lobbed at her, writing, "I just want to remind everyone that I am just another human; I have a family, and I have feelings. Everyone attacked on reddit is just another person like you and me."

Co-founder Steve Huffman will take over the site's leadership, Sam Altman, a board member of Reddit, said in a post on the site. He said Pao resigned "by mutual agreement." 

"We are thankful for Ellen's many contributions to reddit and the technology industry generally," Altman wrote. "She brought focus to chaos, recruited a world-class team of executives, and drove growth."

Pao achieved notoriety through a sex discrimination lawsuit filed against her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. She lost the suit earlier this year, and is appealing the decision.

She joined Reddit in April 2013 and became its acting chief executive in November.

Redditors directed fierce criticsim at Pao following a decision to dismiss Victoria Taylor, the director of talent and an employee popular among the volunteers who moderate the site's many "subreddits" or subsections. On July 3, moderators responded to Taylor's dissmissal by shutting down some of the most heavily trafficked subreddits, including the "Ask Me Anything" section. 

Pao apologized in a post on Reddit, saying, "We haven't communicated well, and we surprised moderators and the community with big changes."

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