In Tinder’s latest controversy, founding member Sean Rad has been asked to step down as CEO, and has been demoted to board member and president. AIC, the parent company and 60% majority owner, is looking for a replacement CEO. In the mean time, Rad will serve as CEO.
The 27 year old founded the company in 2012, while working for Hatch Labs, a mobile apps incubator funded by AIC. Rad spearheaded the company with six others, including his best friend and Chief Marketing Officer, Justin Maaten and Maaten’s on-and-off-again girlfriend, Vice President Whitney Wolfe.
In July, Tinder made headlines when Wolfe publicized a lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment. Amid this summer’s “Gamergate”, the last thing the dating app needed was a banner of misogyny beneath it. Wolfe claimed that Maaten verbally abused her with a series of text messages that were reproduced during the suit. Additionally, she claimed that she was called a “whore” in a party, and a guest spat in her face. She filed her the suit against Tinder and not her ex-boyfriend because her final claim was that she was fired on that basis of being a woman and Maaten’s ex-girlfriend.
Although the case never went to court, and Wolfe settled for approximately $1 million, Tinder still stirred up enough disapproval from the AIC board. Despite Maaten’s and Wolfe’s own suspensions and eventual firings, AIC seems prepared to give Rad a different deal. Owning 10% of the estimated $1 billion dollar company, Rad has quite a bit of invested interest in the company’s future. Despite Rad’s initial disbelief and anger, it seems that he has decided at the very least to see who his new babysitter will be, before he ups and leaves altogether.
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