TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde to Leave AOL

Harde to step down at the end of the year

Heather Harde, former CEO of TechCrunch and general manager of AOL’s technology properties, is leaving the company at the end of the year, TechCrunch announced in a blog post today.

Her resignation follows a string of high-level departures from the popular tech blog. Since founder Michael Arrington’s departure in September, the site has lost writers MG Siegler, Paul Carr, and Sarah Lacey.

“If I had to choose one word to describe Heather it would be tireless. She is a tireless leader, a tireless strategist, a tireless negotiator, a tireless organizer, a tireless sales person, and a tireless champion of TechCrunch in general,” TechCrunch editor in chief Erick Schoenfield wrote in a blog post. “I am truly sorry to see her go.”

Commenting on the post, Arrington wrote, “It's like watching the movie Titanic. You know exactly how it all ends, but you keep hoping it won't.” He also took to his own blog to write about Harde’s departure in the context of what he called a “turf war” between him and AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group president Arianna Huffington.

Harde was appointed TechCrunch’s CEO in 2007, and, since its acquisition by AOL, she has become general manager of AOL’s technology properties, including Engadget, Joystiq, and TUAW.

Harde and TechCrunch haven’t given any indication about what her next step will be, but it's clear that she won’t be without support.

“Mike has always gotten the public credit, but I've watched as Heather did the hard work behind the scenes,” wrote tech blogger Robert Scoble, commenting on TechCrunch’s post. “She would be a great board member for any company, and if she ever started a startup, I sure would consider joining her. Quality people all the way around and a huge loss for AOL.”