It was a phone call Sean Rad wasn't expecting to get last month: an FYI from IAC honcho Sam Yagan informing him Barry Diller's company was demoting him as CEO of Tinder, the business he co-founded. A Forbes exclusive today reveals that Rad is indeed out of the top spot of the popular dating app—which has users swipe right if they like a potential mate's profile and left if they don't—but he'll stay on as president and as a board member. "The board thought the best path was to bring in a CEO, thinking if we opened up the role it would attract better talent," Rad tells Forbes. "I strongly disagreed." Rad's demotion is likely strongly linked to a sexual harassment lawsuit brought over the summer by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe against a third co-founder, Justin Mateen.
Even though the suit was settled out of court in September, the fallout from the scandal—which included accusations by Wolfe of misogyny and a "frat-like" environment—made IAC leery of keeping Rad in the top spot, Forbes reports. As TechCrunch puts it, "Tinder is too big to rest on slippery shoulders." Yagan (also a co-founder of OkCupid) tells Forbes that "Sean has exhibited tremendous strength in building ... Tinder’s brand, users, and product" and that "we wouldn't want to do anything that lessens his leadership in those areas." As for the next possible CEO of Tinder? "We're looking for an Eric Schmidt-like person," Rad tells Forbes, referring to the Google exec. (Read more about the sexual harassment lawsuit.)