Tinder finds a match in CEO search, hires former eBay exec Chris Payne

Courtesy of Tinder

After more than four months on the prowl for a new CEO, Tinder has finally found a match in former eBay executive Chris Payne.

Payne, who most recently lead eBay’s North America operations, is set to take over as CEO of the popular side-swiping dating app, Tinder confirmed Friday.

Payne joined eBay (EBAY) in 2009 when the online marketplace bought software startup Positronic, which he co-founded two years earlier. Prior to that, Payne had executive stints with Amazon (AMZN) and Microsoft (MSFT). According to Payne’s LinkedIn account, he left eBay in December and currently sits on the board of in-flight broadband service Gogo.

The hire follows Tinder’s November announcement that CEO and co-founder Sean Rad would step down. Rad, who helped found the company three years ago, will remain with Tinder as a president and a member of the board of directors at the company, which is majority-owned by Barry Diller’s IAC. With Payne’s arrival, Rad will reportedly continue to take charge on product and marketing aspects while the new CEO will run all other operations.

In November, Rad told Forbes that Tinder would look for “an Eric Schmidt-like person” to replace him as CEO, referring to Google’s (GOOG) executive chairman. “Christopher brings invaluable experience running consumer technology businesses that operate at massive scale,” Rad said in a statement Friday.

Rad’s move into a less prominent role came after an up-and-down year for Tinder that saw rapid growth for the dating app along with controversy, including a sexual harassment lawsuit that paved the way for chief marketing officer Justin Mateen’s departure. Rad was also named in the lawsuit filed by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe, which accused both Rad and Mateen of sexual harassment. The suit was settled last fall.

Payne joins Tinder as the company moves into a new phase of monetization, highlighted by its new premium service: Tinder Plus. Revealed earlier this month, the new service charges users anywhere from about $10 to nearly $20 per month (depending on their age) while offering premium features that include the ability to undo a swipe and to find potential matches in different parts of the world.

“Tinder’s incredible momentum and unique proposition leave it well positioned to be an increasingly ubiquitous part of the social fiber around the globe. I think this can be a very big business,” Payne said in a statement.

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