Today CNN reported that after just five months. Christopher Payne, the professional CEO the company hired to replace Rad, is now gone. And Rad is back in the driver's seat.
"It's only been a few months, but there was mutual agreement here that it was not the right long-term fit, and given Tinder's rapid growth trajectory both Christopher and the Board thought prompt action was best for everyone," said Matt Cohler, of Benchmark Capital, a Tinder director.
Is there more to this? Could a new CEO really have failed that drastically, or only been given the few months to succeed and then summarily tossed out? Or did something happen?
Was it the twitter rant about the Vanity Fair story? Or was it the seeming overreaction to Hannibal Buress's comments at the 19th Annual Webby Awards? Or was this just a bad hire?
No matter the cause, it is clear that the board did the company no favors in its choice of successors. This founder transition stuff is hard! Being forced to accomplish it quickly can lead to even more disaster.
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Tinder Founder to be Replaced with "Seasoned" Exec
There are few things that an early stage founder growing at double digit pace can do to cause his board to replace him. This is one! According to news reports Tinder will replace its cofounder, Sean Rad just two years after he founded the dating site. Apparently, Rad had been the subject of a controversy this year when a female executive sued Tinder and its parent company IAC alleging harassment and discrimination.
“We’re recruiting a new CEO to lead Tinder through this time of explosive growth and expansion, adding world-class talent to the management team and allowing me to focus on Tinder’s product and brand,” Rad said in an e-mailed statement. “I look forward to working with the new CEO to realize Tinder’s massive potential.”
You don't actually believe that Rad is welcoming the new CEO with open arms, do you? Not a chance. And the new CEO will do herself good if she disposes with Rad altogether rather than let him lurk in the background undermining her ideas and authority. I don't know Sean and he may be a very good and well meaning CEO/founder. But after having his walking papers handed to him in such a public controversy, there really is no longer a place for him influencing the direction of the company in the future. And his ability to work with a new CEO is certainly in question. We'll wait and see what plays out in this soap opera start-up drama.