Dating app Tinder breaks up with CEO after five months and gets back its ex

Dating app Tinder breaks up with CEO after five months and gets back its ex
Christopher Payne is leaving his post as chief executive of Tinder, propelling Sean Rad, seen here in June at an event in Santa Monica, back into the dating app's top job. (Tommaso Boddi / Getty Images for Tinder)

Tinder is breaking up with its CEO after just five months.

Christopher Payne, who had led EBay's North American division, "was not the right long-term fit," Tinder board member Matt Cohler said in a statement Wednesday night.


"Given Tinder's rapid growth trajectory, both Christopher and the board thought prompt action was best for everyone," said Cohler, general partner at venture capital firm Benchmark.

In a statement, Payne said the decision was mutual.

The change propels Sean Rad, a Tinder co-founder whose management skills came into question last year, back into the CEO role at the West Hollywood company at a crucial time.

Tinder and a series of other dating apps owned by online media company IAC Corp. -- including, OkCupid and HowAboutWe -- are expected to be spun out into their own company through an initial public offering later this year.

Through advertising and charging fees for extra features, Tinder has already become a significant revenue generator in the portfolio and easily the fastest-growing, according to analysts. Investor sentiment about Tinder could play an outsized role in how the IPO goes.

Staying on track has not been easy for the drama-plagued start-up.

Tinder settled a sexual-harassment and discrimination lawsuit lobbed by one of Tinder's founding employees last year, and Rad was demoted soon after. It's new paid offering has led to age-discrimination lawsuits because of higher pricing for people over a certain age.

The app continues to be labeled as a way for people to instantly find short-term sexual partners even as Tinder maintains the app is used by users to make 26 million "meaningful connections" a day.

And Tuesday, Tinder blasted a barrage of posts on Twitter in response to a Vanity Fair article last week that dissected the hook-up culture and said Tinder helped fuel it.

Greg Blatt, who manages IAC's online dating division, will become executive chairman of Tinder.

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