In a press release, one of Tinder’s board directors and Benchmark partner Matt Cohler explained that “there was a mutual agreement here that it was not the right long-term fit,” speaking about Payne’s brief stint as CEO.
Payne’s appointment to CEO in March came after a year’s worth of internal drama at Tinder, most of which centered around a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by Whitney Wolfe, VP of Marketing. Then-CMO Justin Mateen was suspended following that lawsuit and eventually resigned from the company. Later on in the year, Rad was removed from the CEO position.
Wolfe has gone on to create her own dating app, Bumble, that requires that women start the conversation on matches, which expire in 24 hours.
Sources told Forbes that Rad’s removal from the CEO role boiled down to the sexual harassment lawsuit, which was later settled out of court.
The search for Payne took quite a while, from the announcement of Rad’s transition to President of Tinder in November 2014 to the announcement of Payne’s appointment to CEO, in March 2015.
At the time, Payne said that Tinder was the single-most exciting innovation in mobile, social and local.
“I’ve made my career out of taking big jobs,” said Payne in March. “This is what I sought out because I want this type of impact, and I’m honored to lead something as special as Tinder. It’s a phenomenal opportunity and job and I feel that I’m prepared for it.”
In a prepared statement following the announcement of his departure from the CEO role at Tinder, Payne said “that a quick transition served everybody best” after “[they] mutually determined that this wasn’t going to be optimal.”
In many ways, Payne’s appointment to CEO made a lot of sense. He has 24 years of experience in the tech industry, holding leadership positions at major companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and eBay, as well as starting and selling his own startup Positronics.
The lawsuit, which revealed immature behavior on the part of Tinder employees, put the company in a position where, optically, it needed a transition to something more mature. Payne delivered with his level of seasoned experience. Ultimately, however, the board felt that Rad, who has helmed the Tinder ship since its infancy, is the best fit for the position.
This move comes in a weird week for Tinder. Following a Vanity Fair article, Tinder had a bit of a PR meltdown, posting a Twitter storm after the article opined that dating apps are bad for the generation of users focused on online dating.