Ellen Pao Stepping Down as Reddit Interim CEO After User Rebellion

The move comes in the wake of the firing of a popular employee.

July 10, 2015, 6:09 PM
PHOTO: Ellen Pao is pictured in San Francisco, Calif. on March 25, 2015.
Ellen Pao is pictured in San Francisco, Calif. on March 25, 2015.
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

— -- Ellen Pao, the interim CEO of Reddit, stepped down from her position today following criticism from some forum users over the firing of a popular employee.

Steve Huffman, a Reddit co-founder and original CEO, will return as chief executive, according to a Reddit announcement.

"In my eight months as reddit’s CEO, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly on reddit," Pao said today in a resignation post. "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."

Pao's departure from the job was described as a mutual decision between her and Reddit's board, the announcement said and comes after she was subjected to hateful messages on the site. She will remain at the company as an adviser through the end of 2015.

The Reddit rebellion began after the tight-knit online community learned Victoria Taylor, a popular Reddit employee who helped facilitate the forum's "Ask Me Anything" interviews with politicians, celebrities and other news makers had been abruptly fired without an explanation given to the Reddit community.

Much of the blame was directed at Pao with Reddit users circulating a petition calling for her to be fired. Pao apologized on Monday in a Reddit post and promised better communication in the future.

"We screwed up. Not just on July 2, but also over the past several years," she wrote. "When you've had feedback or requests, we haven’t always been responsive. The mods and the community have lost trust in me and in us, the administrators of reddit."

Huffman, who co-founded Reddit with Alexis Ohanian, will step into the familiar position with the benefit of guiding the community he built forward after the upheaval of the past week.

"He’s lived and breathed reddit since its inception," Pao wrote, "and will work passionately to ensure reddit’s success."

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