A Firing By Any Other Name: Kleiner Perkins Says It Did NOT Fire Ellen Pao; Looking To “Facilitate Her Transition” Out

More drama in the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers / Ellen Pao discrimination case. Just hours ago, it was revealed that Ellen Pao had said that she was fired from the VC firm where she was a partner — something she made public in a statement on Quora. Now, KPCB has come back to us to say it’s not actually true. “Ms. Pao’s Quora post is misleading,” a spokesperson says in a statement. “She remains an employee of the firm.” But it does confirm that it is in discussions over a way to transition her out, based on what it says are performance issues separate to the discrimination case.

So in other words, she’s not been fired per se, but it looks like it is just a matter of timing, with KPCB seeking a way to get her out of the building. And it is looking to do it in a way that takes attention away from the discrimination case, by tying the move to their legal response in June, where other issues around her employment were raised.

“Because of long standing issues having no relationship or bearing on the litigation, Kleiner approached Ms. Pao to facilitate her transition, over an extended period of time, out of the firm,” the spokesperson says. “The proposed terms, that did not require Ms. Pao to waive any legal rights or claims, are generous, fair and intended to support Ms. Pao in a successful career transition.”

The spokesperson would not comment on whether Pao was accurate when she wrote: “senior management told me to clean out my office, leave, and not come back.” We are still waiting to hear back from Pao.

This would also explain why KPCB is still keeping her email address active, along with her profile on their website.

TechCrunch understands that since Pao’s suit was originally filed in May, she had been coming into the office.

In terms of what happens next, TechCrunch understands that in cases where partners are “transitioned out” of a firm, all of the investments and stakes made by that partner are honored. Those investments in Pao’s case include Flipboard, Crittercism, 41st Parameter, Datameer, and iControl.

Similarly, KPCB will retain all board positions and advisory roles. These will be transitioned back to the firm, which will replace Pao in these positions with another partner.