Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen resigns as CEO after employees announce they're unionizing


Charles Adler, Perry Chen, and Yancey Strickler

  • Kickstarter’s co-founder Perry Chen announced he would step down as the company’s CEO hours after the company’s staff announced that it would unionize.
  • He will continue to be chairman of the board.
  • Chen had a controversial tenure as CEO, which began in July 2017.
  • Nearly half the company reportedly turned over under his watch, and employees told BuzzFeed News he had a jarring, heavy-handed approach.

Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen announced Monday that he is stepping down as CEO following the announcement that staff at the company will attempt to form a union.

“I’ve decided to step away from the CEO position at Kickstarter to focus on high-level and long-term company needs in my role as chairman of the board,” he wrote in a blog post.

The news came hours after staff announced that they would form a union.

Read more: Staff at crowdfunding giant Kickstarter are unionizing in a potential first for big tech in the US

Chen re-joined Kickstarter in July 2017, but his tenure proved controversial.

In April 2018, BuzzFeed News reported that the company was in turmoil under Chen’s leadership. At the time of BuzzFeed’s reporting, nearly 50 of the company’s 120 staff had reportedly left, including seven out of eight members of the company’s executive team.

According to BuzzFeed, “employees said Chen strongly exerted his will on the company — making sudden changes to planned-out Kickstarter features, scrapping project timelines at the last minute, forcing out highly respected employees, and trying to shake up office culture in ways that struck the rank and file as simply bizarre.”

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