Tinder Names Payne CEO

Amid of a major monetization effort, Tinder has handed the reins to Christopher Payne. An industry veteran, Payne most recently served as senior vice president of North America Marketplaces at eBay.

“It's a match!” Payne tweeted on Friday. “I swiped right on Tinder!”

It was no secret that Tinder’s owners were looking for a more mature CEO following several perceived missteps by Sean Rad, the matchmaking app’s 27-year-old founder and original CEO. Rad is expected to assume the title of president, while remaining on Tinder’s board.

Among other issues, Rad was widely believed to have mishandled a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Tinder co-founder and former executive Whitney Wolfe.

Wolfe accused Rad and co-founder Justin Mateen of subjecting her to “horrendously sexist, racist and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails and text messages,” before firing her. Tinder and parent company IAC reportedly settled the suit in September.



Separate from its CEO search, Tinder management has been on the hunt for more experienced leadership. In exchange for an unspecified stake in the hookup app, Benchmark recently assigned Matt Cohler, one of its partners, to Tinder’s board of directors.

Under its Match Group, Barry Diller’s IAC continues to hold a controlling stake in Tinder.

Tinder recently revealed plans to turn its popularity into profits, which, to the chagrin of many on Madison Avenue, has little to do with advertising. Rather, the company launched a premium dating service, dubbed Plus, which charges different monthly rates to users based on their regional location and age.

The 2-year-old Tinder quickly emerged as a popular online dating app, particularly among millennials. Its free app now boasts about 1.2 billion profile swipes, per day, along with about 15 millions “matches” -- which occur when two users enter into a text conversation after approving each others’ profiles.

Despite -- or because of -- Diller’s controlling stake in the start-up, Tinder is clearly under pressure to start generating revenue. The company was recently reported to be seeking additional financing, which would have valued the start-up somewhere between $750 million and $1 billion.

The premium service was seen as a blow to brands, many of which have been eying Tinder as a potential platform for reaching young consumers.

Yet, brands could still get their chance to mingle with Tinder users. During an earnings, last year, Diller’s IAC said that Tinder was fertile ground for native advertising.

Some enterprising networks have already taken it upon themselves to test Tinder as a promotional platform. Last year, Fox created a fake profile for the main character of “The Mindy Project,” Mindy Lahiri.

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