Sean Rad, the colourful and controversial CEO of online dating app Tinder, is stepping down…again.
It’s the second time Rad has stepped down from the top job at the company he cofounded four year ago, but he’s not going away.
The Tinder CEO position will be filled long-term by Greg Blatt, who is also the CEO of Match Group, Tinder’s parent company.
Rad will also lead a new entity within Match, called “Swipe Ventures,” which Rad told Business Insider will be focused on buying companies to help Tinder.
“In order to grow the company further, or at least where I can add value … is to start looking at other companies to buy to expand our footprint,” Rad said Thursday. “And I started down that road and quickly realised I don’t have a lot of time to do everything.” In March, Tinder bought Humin, an app that helped people manage contacts.
Rad cited Google, Facebook, and Snapchat as examples of companies where smart M&A has unlocked new growth. That’s what he hopes to do with Tinder, with the broad mandate of buying companies that help Tinder’s goal of “eliminating the friction in connecting new people.”
One thing Rad said wasn’t a factor in the CEO change was his public image, which has been hit by multiple waves of negative press over the last few years.
And just before Match Group had its IPO last November, Rad gave a disastrous interview to the Evening Standard, in which he mixed up the word “sodomy” and “sapiosexual,” and talked about a famous supermodel begging him for sex. Match Group filed a note about the interview with the SEC.
“The company is doing insanely well,” Rad responded when asked if the pre-IPO snafu could have been a factor. “Some of the things we’ve accomplished in the last year are shocking, particularly if you benchmark it against the industry. This is all positive. This is the result of success not any problems that we’re having. This is just about me creating time to go out and grow the company in different ways. We’ve doubled the size, more than doubled in a lot of areas … Things are going incredibly well. I’m proud of what I’ve done.”
Rad has been the guiding force behind Tinder’s product and strategy, and helped build Tinder into the most influential dating app in the contemporary landscape.
But Tinder can’t sit on its laurels, and Rad thinks the company will have to think big in the next chapter.
“I have a belief that there are significant platform changes coming that are going to really disrupt the entire space, from AR [augmented reality] to AI [artificial intelligence],” Rad said. There are more ideas being tossed around Tinder than the company has time to capitalise on, Rad said.
The next phase: M&A.
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