Reddit has named former Facebook and Paypal engineer Yishan Wong its new CEO. The announcement follows the company’s restructuring under its parent company, Advanced Publications.
“I don’t have the polish and the poise and the schmoozing, and I don’t play golf,” said Wong of his credentials. “Instead, I’m an engineer and a leader of engineers and I play Starcraft (poorly).” Wong was in fact a former engineering director at Facebook and before that, a senior engineering manager at Paypal. He had spent the last year consulting for Square, a mobile payments service, when he got the call from Reddit.
The user-generated news links site, which was acquired by Condé Nast in 2006, was undergoing some restructuring. According to general manager Erik Martin, the site’s readership had grown to from 700,000 page views per day to approximately that much every 15 minutes and needed some organizational help. In September 2011 Reddit, Inc. became an independent entity within Advance Publications, which also owns Condé Nast.
Reddit was also looking for a new CEO, and would only consider candidates who “understood the community and were passionate about serving its needs.” The search ended with Yishan Wong. Said Wong in a blog post:
As part of my joining, we’ve been working with Advance Publications to complete reddit’s spin-off. We’ve established a new board including, among others, reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian (kn0thing), and a revamped capital structure that will allow reddit to manage its own finances and operations, including the ability to provide competitive equity compensation to its employees, which we haven’t been able to do in the past. I am inspired by the words of an engineer who once described Google as a place where “engineers can go all the way to the top, a place where the IT and HR policies are written with engineers in mind.”
Wong said he plans to help the team “improve functionality for users and mods, help with subreddit discovery, improve the API, and help bring reddit to more people.” He is also taking questions from the public in the comments, but we were just there and don’t recommend it unless you like puns.