Reddit chief engineer resigns after two months, cites issues with management promises

Reddit chief engineer Bethanye Blount has left the company after two months, just days after interim CEO Ellen Pao announced her own resignation.

It is the third high-profile female member of Reddit to leave the company, with Head of Talent Victoria being fired from the company by co-founder and Chairman Alexis Ohanian, for unknown reasons.

Blount said she “could not deliver on promises being made to the community,” which is why she left. The chief engineer was picked up by Reddit from Facebook, where Blount had worked since 2011 after Facebook acquired MailRank.

Speaking to Re/Code, Blount said:

“Along the way, there are some very aggressive implied promises being made to the community—in comments to mods, quotes from board members—and they’re going have some pretty big challenges in meeting those implied promises.”

These promises include new moderation tools, removal of shadowbans, more support for Ask Me Anything threads and updated features for Reddit. In a follow up comment to Blount’s announcement, the new CEO Steve Huffman said these goals can be achieved with relative ease.

Blount also commented on Ellen Pao’s treatment while at the company, claiming she had been placed on a “glass cliff” due to her gender and joining the company at such a critical time. It lead to a lot of attacks against Pao, when it seems it was Ohanian making the decisions.

This suggests that Ohanian is planning the big changes inside the company, like the reported monetisation of iAMA and Gifts. Reddit recently received £32 million in Series B funding, the first it has received since launching in 2005, pointing to new monetisation efforts.

Reddit is also part-owned by Conde Nast, the media conglomerate, which may have something to do with the sudden rush to monetise the site.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t seem like Ellen Pao was the person behind some of the poor decisions Reddit has been making over the past six months. Now that Blount is also gone, Reddit is starting to lose a lot of talent.