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Kickstarter’s CEO Steps Down After Guiding Company Rebound

By George Paul

Last updated: Feb 15, 2023

Kickstarter’s CEO, Aziz Hasan, has announced he will leave the crowdfunding platform at the beginning of April after three years on the job.

Aziz Hasan. Image courtesy of Kickstarter.
Aziz Hasan. Image courtesy of Kickstarter.

Kickstarter’s CEO, Aziz Hasan, has announced he will leave the crowdfunding platform at the beginning of April after three years on the job.

In a statement provided to Fast Company, Hasan, a trained illustrator, said he wants to spend more time with his family and devote more time to his creative work. “The more creative work that gets out into the world, I think, the better,” he told Fast Company.

The company’s COO, Sean Leow, will step in as acting CEO when Hasan formally turns in his badge on April 4.

Kickstarter's org chart March 2022

Leow has been with Kickstarter for the past six years and managed the company’s international growth before his current stint as COO. He also worked at Facebook, where he managed the social media company’s partnerships, and co-founded Neocha, a Chinese social networking site for artists and musicians.

Leow inherits a company that has rebounded from an early pandemic slump in which the platform saw a 35% drop in new projects on the platform, forcing it to cut around 40% of its staff in May 2020.

Last year, Kickstarter saw more than $813 million pledged and 19,560 projects funded, up from $777 million raised and 18,744 projects funded in 2020 and $654 million pledged and 19,408 projects funded in 2019. So far 2022 is looking to be a big year for the company. It started off the year with a record-breaking project, as sci-fi and fantasy author Brandon Sanderson raised more than $36 million to publish his new book series on the platform, raising $15 million in just 24 hours.

“Aziz Hasan took over leadership of Kickstarter at a critical moment for the company, providing a thoughtful and steady hand throughout his tenure, including historic funding milestones for creative projects and navigating the many challenges of a global pandemic,” company founder and Chairman Perry Chen said. “While we search for the future CEO of Kickstarter, we are very fortunate to have Sean Leow leading the company.”

Leow will oversee the crowdfunding platform’s experiment with a four-day, 32-hour workweek for its employees, which launches in April. He will also guide the company’s continued adaptation to become a fully remote organization.

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