Kleiner partner: We didn't think Ellen Pao would be a good investor, but promoted her anyway

A witness for the venture capital firm Ellen Pao is suing for gender discrimination says they promoted Pao to an investing role even though they didn’t think she would be any good at it.

“I didn’t think being a venture capitalist was the right role for Ellen,” testified Kleiner managing partner Ted Schlein on Thursday. “I thought she would be a great operator.”

But when Google Ventures approached Pao about a job — possibly to become a partner there — Kleiner responded by making her a junior partner in its digital growth fund.

“There was a discussion about how to respond to Google Ventures’ request to talk to Ellen,” said Schlein. “We offered her a position in the digital group at that point in time.”

Schlein said he was “quite hesitant” about promoting Pao and said told John Doerr, whom Pao had been serving as chief of staff.

Kleiner’s lawyers have stressed that Pao wasn’t promoted from junior partner to a general partner role because she was better suited as an operator than an investor.

Currently Pao is serving as Reddit’s interim CEO. She’s seeking $US16 million in damages from Kleiner Perkins.

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