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Ellen Pao resigns from Reddit CEO position, co-founder Steve Huffman returns

Ellen Pao has resigned from her position as Reddit’s interim CEO, and will be replaced by co-founder Steve Huffman. The move was a “mutual decision” according to Pao, who claims the board had more aggressive growth goals in mind.

The resignation comes a week after the subreddit protest, where hundreds of subreddits changed to private (opens in new tab), allowing only moderators and admins to see inside. Some of the biggest subreddits like iAMA and AskReddit went offline for several hours.

The reason for the uprising was Reddit’s Head of Talent, Victoria, being fired from her position. While this has not been expanded upon, rumours claim Victoria did not want Ask Me Anything videos or any monetary incentives to be added on to AMAs.

Unpaid moderators, who make sure subreddits remain clean and focused on a topic, went against the removal. To them, it was another one of Reddit’s staff decisions that hurt the way moderators work, which is already hard enough on some of the bigger subreddits.

Interestingly, when speaking about the resignation, the new CEO Steve Huffman claims it has been in the works for a few weeks. Several Redditors asked Huffman in his own AMA (opens in new tab) if Pao was used as a scapegoat for some of the company’s poor decisions over the past month—Huffman claims Pao hadn’t been used as a scapegoat.

Pao joined Reddit after the previous CEO, Yishan Wong, suddenly left the company. It was around this time Reddit took $50 million (£32 million) in Series B funding, the first since the site’s launch in 2005 with $100 million (£64 million) seed funding.

This funding round hinted at expansion and a large growth in advertising.

Huffman did not discuss Reddit’s future plans when it comes to monetisation, but with Reddit Gifts admin and Victoria both out of a job, it seems quite clear the company wants to monetise its most prominent community features.

This could be an extremely bad move, considering is already gaining traction as an alternative to Reddit. Making a cash grab on some of the communities most loved events may lead to moderators and users leaving en-masse.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.