Alexis Ohanian Is Returning to Help Run Reddit

CEO Yishan Wong abruptly exits, reportedly over office space squabble

Alexis Ohanian surprisingly returns to the company he helped found.

Reddit is going through a shake-up, but co-founder Alexis Ohanian wants to assure its members that they're in good hands—his own. Ohanian, who left Reddit in 2010 to become a volunteer for kiva.org, will become an executive chairman for the "front page of the Internet." Currently, he serves on the advisory board, and also is a co-partner of seed accelerator Y Combinator.

In a blog post titled "Coming Home," Ohanian explained that CEO Yishan Wong left the company. (Wong recently put money into Reddit alongside Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto during a series B investment round worth $50 million.) The post gave no explanation for the abrupt resignation.

Ohanian said that since he founded Reddit in 2005 it has grown to 174 million users, and he believes it will continue to grow thanks to Wong's groundwork.

"Now at a little over 9 years old, with thousands of communities, Reddit is at an amazing inflection point, and I'm thrilled to return to help it achieve all that it can," Ohanian wrote.

However, another blog by Y Combinators' Sam Altman (who led the investment round Wong participated in) said the former CEO resigned last week over a disagreement with the board on the location and money spent for a new office. 

"There is a long history of founders returning to companies and doing great things," Altman wrote. "Alexis probably knows the Reddit community better than anyone else on the planet. He had the original product vision for the company, and I'm excited he'll get to finish the job. Founders are able to set the vision for their companies with an authority no one else can."

Ellen Pao, Reddit's head of strategic partnerships, will take over as interim CEO. Pao most recently lead the mobile team, including the launch of the Ask Me Anything (AMA) app. In addition, Dan McComas will relocate to the San Francisco headquarters and take over as svp of product. He founded RedditGifts—a service that helps organize gift exchanges, including a Secret Santa exchange with participants such as Bill Gates