Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan is stepping down

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Kickstarter CEO Aziz Hasan is stepping down. In a blog titled “Moving Forward, with Gratitude,” Hasan says COO Sean Leow will be interim CEO and that the search for a permanent replacement is already underway.

In an interview with Fast Company, Hasan says “personal reflections” and a desire to spend more time with his family informed his decision to leave Kickstarter after three years.

“I am so proud of the work we’ve done together,” Hasan writes. “Leading such a passionate, skilled, and dedicated team through intense moments of change, milestone victories, and complex challenges has been a humbling and rewarding experience.”

He touted the company’s successes under his leadership, including reaching $6 billion raised in pledges by 20 million backers.

Hasan’s announcement comes a few months after the company announced it would develop a decentralized version of Kickstarter and move on to the blockchain. Backlash soon followed, forcing the company to issue a follow-up statement saying it would slow down the rollout to “listen to [the] feedback” and address concerns from creators and backers.

Kickstarter and company leadership also faced criticism in 2019 — just months after Hasan was named CEO — for its refusal to voluntarily recognize Kickstarter United, its employee union. Workers voted the following year to unionize, becoming one of the first tech unions in the US. That same year, Kickstarter lost about 40 percent of its workforce to layoffs and buyouts as the company grappled with a steep drop in new projects early in the pandemic.

Hasan will remain on as an advisor for the next several months as the Kickstarter Board of Directors looks for a new CEO. His last day will be April 4th.

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