Reddit CEO Yishan Wong resigns, says reason is 'unbelievable because it's so weird'

Wong resigned over dispute about office location. Co-founder Aexis Ohanian will return to the company, while COO Ellen Pao will become interim CEO

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Reddit’s CEO Yishan Wong has resigned after two and a half years at the head of the social aggregation site, claiming: “I’m basically worn out”.

Mr Wong’s departure will be filled by COO Ellen Pao, who will become interim CEO, while co-founder Alexis Ohanian will return to the company he founded in 2005 to fill the full-time executive chairman role.

Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator – the American seed accelerator that helped fund Reddit, explained Mr Wong’s resignation: “The reason was a disagreement with the board about a new office,” he wrote in a blog post.

“To be clear, though, we didn’t ask or suggest that he resign – he decided to when we didn’t approve the new office plan.”

Answering a question concerning his resignation on Quora, Mr Wong further explained: “All of the reasons that Sam has outlined in public are true.  I know it sounds somewhat unbelievable because it's so weird, but if it was made up, I think any PR person would have come up with a better made-up story.”

According to both men, there was a disagreement surrounding where to locate the new office – either in established tech ground of San Francisco or outside the centre in Daly City.

Mr Wong was keen for the company to locate to lower-rent Daly City, whereas the board – who he labels “very supportive and friendly” – eventually plumped for San Francisco.


He described his role as “incredibly stressful and draining”, acknowledging that “I probably pushed myself way too far”.

The CEO is the second major Reddit executive to resign in the past month. General manager Erik Martin, who joined in 2008, announced he was leaving in mid-October.

Launched in 2005, Reddit has seen extraordinary growth during Mr Wong’s tenure, expanding from 35 million users to 174 million.

The expansion has not been without controversies, the most recent of which being The Fappening – in which hundreds of images of naked celebrities were leaked onto the web. The event prompted Mr Wong to defend Reddit’s policies and confirm they would not be changing.