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Sean Rad pushed out as Tinder CEO following scandal

Rad was accused of ignoring harassment claims and stripping co-founder Whitney Wolfe of her title

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 4, 2014
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3a2e

When Tinder settled the sexual harassment claims made against it by company co-founder and former VP of marketing Whitney Wolfe, it really did look like there would be no lasting consequences.

Sure, the company's chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, the man who had done the alleged harassing, was already out. Sean Rad, the CEO of the company, who was accused of ignoring Wolfe's complaints about Mateen, was still in, though. And the company had not actually admitted any wrongdoing. All was good for Tinder, right?

Well, maybe not. Turns out that IAC, which owns a majority of Tinder, is not so happy about having a tainted figure at the top of such a big company. So now comes the big news in an exclusive report from Forbes: Sean Rad is out as CEO of Tinder. 

In case you don't remember the details of the sexual harassment claims, Wolfe's filed a lawsuit against her former company in June, alleging a series of incidents of harassment from the company's chief marketing officer, Justin Mateen, who she had previously had a relationship with.

Mateen was accused of not only removing Wolfe's title as co-founder because of her gender, but also of publicly insulting her, including calling Wolfe both a slut and a whore in front of other team members. Tinder CEO Rad, who allegedly ignored Wolfe's complaints about Mateen, was also named in the suit, as was Match.com, whose CEO Sam Yagan was also accused by Wolfe of doing nothing about Mateen's behavior.

There was ample evidence that these incidents with Mateen occurred, including a series of harassing text messages sent from Mateen to Wolfe during this time period, which included repeated threats.

But Rad's involvement goes even further than simply ignoring the problematic behavior of his employee and friend: shortly after their breakup, Mateen stripped Wolfe of her co-founder status. When Wolfe protested, both Mateen and Sean Rad allegedly told Wolfe that she would accept their decision or be fired. 

There could be other reasons for the decision to oust Rad beyond the scandal.. After all, Tinder is a property that could be worth $1.5 billion. And Rad is a young, unproven leader. So maybe IAC was simply looking for a reason to get rid of Rad, and saw the scandal as a way to do it.

What happens to Rad going forward is unclear. As of now, he is not out of the company completely; he will act as president and remain on Tinder’s board, and will likely stay on as CEO until a replacement is found.

“We’re looking for an Eric Schmidt-like person,” Rad told Forbes. “There is no CEO coming in the door that I don’t get along with—that would be corporate suicide.”

Beyond that, whether or not he remains with Tinder in any capacity is an open question. In any case, don't feel too bad for him. As a co-founder, no matter what happens he still owns 10% of the company. So I think he'll be ok.

VatorNews has reached out to Tinder for comment on this report. We will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: farm3.staticflickr.com)


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