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CEO and co-founder of Kickstarter Perry Chen is stepping down

Today, March 20, Perry Chen wrote an open letter to the Kickstarter family that he decided to step down from his post as a CEO.

Perry Chen is the Chairman and Co-founder of Kickstarter – a public benefit corporation that controls a global crowdfunding platform concentrated on creativity and merchandising. Kickstarter’s mission is to ‘help bring creative projects to life’.

In his blog post, he said that he is resigning to focus on high-level and long-term company needs in his role as a chairman of the board.

Chen has been the CEO of the company since its founding in 2009. On 2014, he announced his departure from the company and passed his CEO role to Yancey Strickler, also a co-founder of the company. On 2017, he returned at Kickstarter following the statement of Strickler leaving the company.

Chen’s announcement came hours after the company’s staff issued unionization. “Kickstarter United is proud to start the process of unionizing to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity, and a positive impact on society. We trust in the democratic process and are confident that the leadership of Kickstarter stands with us in that effort. Kickstarter has always been a trailblazer, and this is a pivotal moment for tech. We want to set the standard for the entire industry. Now is the time. Come together. Unionize.”, the union states.

According to Kickstarter representative, even though the matter happened on the same day, the two events are not related since Chen’s announcement was made on Monday evening.

Here is the full statement of Perry Chen:

“To the Kickstarter team, creators, backers, and friends:

I’ve decided to step away from the CEO position at Kickstarter to focus on high-level and long-term company needs in my role as chairman of the board.

We’re just about a month shy of Kickstarter’s 10th birthday. Ten years ago, I took a leap with Yancey and Charles to create a platform with a simple mission: bring people together to help bring creative projects to life and in doing so, Kickstarter came to life in ways I never could have imagined. In just ten years, we have accomplished so much together, with over $4.2 billion pledged to projects and nearly 160,000 projects from all over the world being successfully funded.

When I returned as CEO last 2017, I initially intended to spend about six months working to set up a long-term foundation to ensure Kickstarter remained aligned with its mission, and to set the next leader up for success. Those months quickly became two years dedicated to developing a better way to deliver on the core aspects of our service through a robust operating system, a strong product, and the team we have assembled at Kickstarter today.

I feel confident in what we’ve been able to accomplish, and even more confident in the next generation of leaders. And as a part of this decision, I’m happy to announce that Aziz Hasan, the head of Kickstarter’s Design & Product teams, will be stepping into the role of running day-to-day operations as interim CEO—with the Kickstarter PBC board working with Aziz over the next weeks and months to make this role permanent.

Aziz is an experienced leader who joined the Kickstarter team early last year. He is deeply committed to the work, mission, and staff, and I cannot imagine Kickstarter in better hands.

It’s been a true honor to serve as CEO for the first five years of this company and again for the last two. As we’ve been saying around here ahead of our milestone birthday, 10 is just the beginning. And I cannot wait to see what the next 10 years of Kickstarter will bring.”

Chen will remain as Chairman of the board of Kickstarter.