Jack Dorsey isn't the first: 9 other tech company founders who later returned as CEO

Steve jobsAP ImagesIn this April 4, 1991, file photo, Steve Jobs of NeXT Computer Inc. poses for the press with his NeXTstation colour computer at the NeXT facility in Redwood City, Calif.

Silicon Valley strongly believes in the founder mythos: That is, founders know best.

So it’s no surprise that many founders have returned to their companies as CEOs several years down the line, whether to give them a critical kick in the pants or to save them from near disaster.

Here are 10 tech founders who returned to go down with the ship or patch the holes to keep it alive.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn

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Reid Hoffman, executive chairman, cofounder LinkedIn

In 2003, Reid Hoffman founded and then led LinkedIn through its four years. After growing it to more than nine million members, he appointed Dan Nye as the new CEO in 2007.

Nye only served two years at the helm before a management shake-up resulted in Hoffman re-taking the role in December 2008.

Hoffman's return as CEO was only a short six months. Jeff Weiner, who had joined the company as president in the management shake-up, was quickly appointed CEO in July 2009 and has stayed in the position since.

Steve Huffman, Reddit


10 years ago, Steve Huffman co-founded Reddit in his dorm room and led the site as its original CEO.

After the sale to Condé Nast a year later, Huffman later started a new company, travel site Hipmunk.

In early July, though, Reddit users protested interim CEO Ellen Pao's move to fire an employee who led their AMA sessions. The site soon found itself in an uproar as users rebelled and locked down several subreddits. It was the last straw in Pao's tumultuous tenure and Huffman returned to the company.

Interestingly, like Dorsey, Huffman has remained in a critical leadership position of his other company. Huffman is still CTO of Hipmunk.

Sean Rad, Tinder

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Sean Rad co-founded Tinder, the swiping dating app, in 2012.

Two years later, Rad stepped away from the CEO position because the company was looking for a more experienced, 'Eric Schmidt-like person' as the company's next CEO. However, insiders told Forbes at the time of Rad's original departure that Tinder's recent sexual-harassment lawsuit was also to blame for Rad's leaving the company.

Either way, Rad's brief respite from CEO didn't last long. Chris Payne was appointed CEO in March 2015, but only lasted five months in the position.

As of August 2015, Rad is back in the top position.

Mark Pincus, Zynga

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Zynga took off like a rocket in 2007 thanks to its creation of Farmville, but it hasn't sustained that momentum.

Founder Mark Pincus stepped down from the CEO role in 2013. Former Microsoft and EA exec Don Mattrick stepped in try to turn the company around and make it less reliant on Facebook. The turnaround didn't work to revive the company.

With worsening finances, Pincus retook the role of CEO in April 2015. 'We need to get back to being the leader in mobile data and analytics, which leads to the best product management in our games,' Pincus told the New York Times at the time. 'I think I bring a DNA and passion, in that respect.'

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