Reddit's Ellen Pao quits
Reddit’s much-hated CEO Ellen Pao quits after lengthy backlash Robert Galbraith/Reuters

Ellen Pao, the interim CEO of Reddit, has stepped down from her position after a prolonged campaign by the internet community.

Pao earned the wrath of scores of members of Redditors in recent weeks as she was accused of an autocratic style of handling matters.

This culminated in a revolt against the company's decision to sack a key member, Victoria Taylor, who mainly managed the popular AMA (Ask Me Anything) subreddit forum, for yet-unknown reasons.

"After more than two years at Reddit, I have resigned today. In my eight months as Reddit's CEO, I've seen the good, bad and the ugly on Reddit. The good has been off-the-wall inspiring, and the ugly made me doubt humanity," she wrote in a post.

The controversy erupted when Pao decided to ban a few subreddits which were widely seen as racist and offensive months ago. Members of Reddit, touted as the front-page of the internet, rallied against the move calling it a curb on freedom of expression.

Pao added: "Ultimately, the board asked me to demonstrate higher user growth in the next six months than I believe I cannot deliver while maintaining Reddit's core principles."

Steve Huffman, a co-founder and former CEO, will take the baton from Pao. An online petition in the change.org website calling for her resignation drew more than 200,000 signatures.

Pao's contribution hailed

Reddit investors have defended Pao's contribution to the influential website saying she has been a "pioneer".

Sam Altman, a lead investor, wrote: "The reduction in compassion that happens when we're all behind computer screens is not good for the world. People are still people even if there is internet between you. If the Reddit community cannot learn to balance authenticity and compassion, it may be a great website but it will never be a truly great community."

"We are thankful to Ellen's many contributions to Reddit and the technology industry generally. She brought a face to Reddit that changed perceptions, and is a pioneer for women in the tech industry. She will remain as an advisor to the board through the end of 2015. I look forward to seeing the great things she does beyond that."

Jokes and jibes against Pao were seen frequently across several subreddits in the past several months. Some of the posts, which often got enormous user response in the outspoken forum, went on to compare Pao with hated figures like Hitler.