After only five months as CEO of Tinder, former Ebay and Microsoft executive Christopher Payne has been removed from his position, with Sean Rad set to return to the role he was sacked from last year.
Matt Cohler, director of the dating app, said that a mutual agreement had been reached between both parties, explaining that it was not a “long-term fit” – although no other specifics were given about the decision. Payne said he had enjoyed his time at Tinder and agreed that a “quick transition served everybody best.”
Though few details have been given for Payne’s sacking, Tinder endured a tough week in the lead-up to the decision. The company was widely criticised for a series of controversial tweets against Vanity Fair after the famed magazine published an article analysing dating in the digital age – which Tinder clearly did not like. Less than 48 hours later, after a furore on Twitter, Payne was gone – suggesting that the last tether had been reached with the CEO.
Former CEO Sean Rad will return to his role despite a controversial exit last November. Rad was the subject of a sexual harassment case and later resigned only to become president. However, it has been reported that Tinder executives universally agreed that stronger leadership was needed after a series of internal issues, most noticeably the Vanity Fair Twitter saga, and thus Rad was brought back to replace Payne as chief executive officer.
Business analysts are likely to view Tinder’s changing of the guard in one of two ways. The first is to look at the appointment of Rad and see panic. After all, Rad is a leader who had his reputation severely tarnished just 9 months ago but now is back in the top job. On the other hand, there will be analysts who view the move positively, crediting Tinder for implementing a swift, robust succession plan. It has been widely written that companies including Microsoft and Coca Cola have been ill-prepared for leadership succession plans in recent years. Nevertheless, Tinder has clearly identified a problem at the top, and sought to deal with it by appointing an individual who knows the company’s culture, services and ambitions – which is likely to calm any fears over the company’s future on the markets.
Tinder was launched in 2012 and by 2014 it was registering over one billion “swipes” per day. It is used all around the world and available in approximately 30 languages. The app makes more than 26 million matches per day and the Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently valued the company at $1.35 billion dollars. Tinder is an enormously influential transatlantic brand and needs to be managed effectively from top to bottom – something the company didn’t believe was happening under Payne’s guardianship. But by appointing a leader who knows the company as well as anybody, Tinder may well benefit from this CEO reshuffle.