Former Facebook engineering director Yishan Wong takes role as CEO of Reddit

By Kim-Mai Cutler Comment

Yishan Wong, a former director of engineering at Facebook, who spent more than four years at the company overseeing ads, payments and internationalization efforts, is becoming chief executive of Reddit.

Reddit is seeing somewhat of a resurgence after its onetime rival Digg saw a great deal of executive turnover. Reddit was spun out of Conde Nast last fall as a standalone unit, but the magazine publisher retains full ownership of it. I had heard last fall that Reddit had been poking around among senior executives at early social networking and gaming companies, but it wasn’t clear who would step into the position.

“I feel like I’ve been called to serve,” Wong said. “I think Reddit is a force for good in the world and if they need someone with my skills, I’m going to step up and do it.” The full blog post containing his thoughts on the move is here.

Wong was instrumental in building up Facebook’s engineering operations after serving for more than four years at Paypal.

Outside of work, Wong is quite prolific on knowledge sharing site Quora and is known for his often irreverent and contrarian answers — a knack that should serve him well while running Reddit.

He doesn’t have any big plans yet though.

“I’m not making big bold changes,” he said. “I just want to listen and learn from the community. It’s important to understand the nuances.”

In his spare time, he’s become a “gentleman hacker” of sorts and started an incubator in Mountain View called Sunfire Office, where he mentors early-stage teams of engineers. Wong will keep running Sunfire in his spare time.