reddit Chief Engineer Abruptly Quits Amidst Very Public Internal Fracas
reddit, one of the most popular websites on the planet, has lost another high-ranking female employee. Bethanye Blount, the site's chief engineer, decided to call it quits only days after Ellen Pao stepped down as interim CEO. Blount had only been with reddit for two months, having jumped ship from Facebook for what she thought would be a better opportunity.
Unfortunately for Blount, her timing couldn't have been worse. All hell broke loose at reddit when management abruptly dismissed Victoria Taylor, the site's Ask Me Anything (AMA) coordinator and a beloved figure among the community, and terminated her position altogether. While the full story is still unfolding, it appears that management and Taylor disagreed over the direction of the site's popular AMA sessions.
Taylor's firing prompted a moderator revolt in which several high-traffic sub-reddits were marked as private, thus denying access to the public and depriving reddit of valuable site hits. Around the same time, a Change.org petition demanding that Pao resign as CEO gained considerable steam and ultimately notched over 200,000 signatures by the time she stepped down.
The way Blount sees things, Pao was put on a "glass cliff," a term to describe when women executives in the corporate world are put in leadership roles during times of crisis, setting them up to fail.
Whether or not that was the case, gender wasn't the reason Blount left. Instead, she says her departure is due to a lack of confidence in reddit's ability to deliver on some hefty promises.
"I feel like there are going be some big bumps on the road ahead for reddit," Blount said. "Along the way, there are some very aggressive implied promises being made to the community — in comments to mods, quotes from board members — and they’re going have some pretty big challenges in meeting those implied promises," Blount said, according to Recode.
Steve Huffman, reddit's co-founder and the site's original CEO, weighed in on the topic of gender discrimination and said it's not a problem the site needs to address. He said he was looking forward to working with Blount, and that going forward, he's confident in the site's ability to recruit women at the executive level.