Ellen Pao has stepped down as CEO of Reddit

Ellen Pao has officially announced that she is stepping down from her position as the interim CEO at Reddit. Her decision comes after a week of intense criticism and revolt from the site’s users over the unexpected firing of Victoria Taylor, a well-loved employee and administrator for the popular /r/IAmA subreddit. Many users blamed Pao for the dismissal, and the criticism quickly became personal — with some redditors going so far as to start an online petition to remove her as CEO. (It has received over 200,000 signatures to date.)

Pao will be replaced by Steve Huffman, who co-founded the website along with Alexis Ohanian in 2005. According to The New York Times, the decision was a “mutual agreement” between Pao and Reddit’s board, and they remain on good terms. Pao will also be an adviser for the board until the end of the year.

“It became clear that the board and I had a different view on the ability of Reddit to grow this year,” she told The New York Times. “Because of that, it made sense to bring someone in that shared the same view.”

Under Pao’s leadership, Reddit saw multiple changes both on the site and behind the scenes — including an updated anti-harassment policy and the decision to ban salary negotiations for the site’s employees. Not all of her decisions were met with open arms, and many felt stricter moderation took away from the site’s original appeal — but either way, Pao certainly left her mark on the “front page of the Internet.”

Pao has been a trailblazer for women in the tech industry in the last few years, and a major voice in favor of gender equality across the board. Perhaps most notably, she lost a gender discrimination lawsuit earlier this year to her former employer, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers that sparked a major discussion about sexism in Silicon Valley.

“We are thankful for Ellen’s many contributions to Reddit and the technology industry generally,” Huffman said in a statement, according to USA Today.

“She brought focus to chaos, recruited a world-class team of executives, and drove growth,” Sam Altman, a Reddit board member, continued. “She brought a face to Reddit that changed perceptions, and is a pioneer for women in the tech industry.”

We wish Pao all the best, and look forward to seeing what she does next.

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(Image via Twitter)