After 11 years, Tumblr’s founder and public face David Karp announced his resignation from the company in a staff email this afternoon.
The once booming platform which attracted artists, bloggers, and fandom communities in droves was purchased by Yahoo in May of 2013 for the obscene figure of $1.1 billion (£826 million) under Marissa Meyer’s leadership, but consistently struggled to find a road to profitability. Three years later Tumblr was among the Yahoo properties scooped up by Verizon under the new Oath banner, for a piddling $4.8 billion (£3.6 billion).
Noting vaguely in the memo that “my decision comes after months of reflection on my personal ambitions,” Karp has not yet announced what he plans to do next. We’ve reached out to Tumblr and current Tumblr employees for comment.
The memo is reproduced below.
Friends and colleagues –
After nearly 11 years, I’ve decided that 2017 will be my last year at Tumblr.
It is truly overwhelming to write those words. But I have the comfort of knowing I leave Tumblr in better hands than my own. Jeff [D’Onofrio] is the most capable and caring leader I’ve ever met, which I say with no exaggeration. Simon [Thompson] has worked tirelessly to support us and everything that makes Tumblr special. But even more, they are both true believers in what we’ve built and how much we can still do.
I look back with so much pride. At a generation of artists, writers, creators, curators, and crusaders that have redefined our culture, and who we have helped to empower. There are no words, though, that can express how sincerely grateful I am for the privilege of working with you. This team and place has been my family and home for most of my adult life. That I have gotten to spend this time working with people so spectacularly talented and unstoppably optimistic is a blessing I hope you have shared, and will continue to share.
I beg you to understand that my decision comes after months of reflection on my personal ambitions, and at no cost to my hopefulness for Tumblr’s future or the impact I know it can have. The internet is at a crossroads of which this team can play a fundamental role in shaping. You are in the driver seat, and I am so excited to see where you go!
Thank you for allowing me this honor,