Pinterest co-founder steps down to join Jony Ive’s design firm

Pinterest co-founder steps down to join Jony Ive’s design firm

Inc. co-founder Evan Sharp is stepping down from the company and plans to join LoveFrom, the design firm founded by former Apple Inc. executive Jony Ive.

Sharp is Pinterest’s chief design and creative officer, and as co-founder, sits on the board of directors. He has overseen the product and design teams for the digital search and scrapbooking platform since 2011, according to a company filing, and has an ownership stake that gives him about a 6% of Pinterest’s voting control.

“As you might imagine, this is a tough decision for me. What job will ever be able to compete with leading None,” Sharp wrote in an internal note to employees seen by Bloomberg. “But when I think about how to create a life that I love, one thing is clear to me: I really, really want to grow as a designer and product builder.”

Sharp is credited with designing and building the original product, and oversees the user experience, according to a company statement posted online Wednesday.

He’ll continue to serve on Pinterest’s board, and also has a new role advising the company on strategy, product, design, brand and culture, Pinterest said in its blog post.

Pinterest, which went public in April 2019, benefited during the pandemic when people stuck at home moved online to fill time. The stock hit an all-time high in February, but has since fallen more than 42%, closing at $51.57 Wednesday, as usage has slowed with the pandemic’s easing.

The departure comes at a complicated time for Pinterest, which is dealing with a number of accusations from former employees that the company discriminated against female workers. Pinterest paid $20 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by former COO Francoise Brougher last December. That suit followed public complaints by two Black women who left Pinterest earlier in the year and said the company underpaid them and that their own discrimination claims were ignored by human resources.

A pension fund also sued the company and a group of executives and board directors on behalf of shareholders in late 2020, accusing Pinterest of “illegal discrimination.” Sharp is named as one of nine defendants in that suit, apart from the company itself. The investor alleged a breach of fiduciary duty and abuse of control, among other claims, and said the concerns stemmed from discrimination on the basis of race and sex of the company’s employees. Subsequent lawsuits have followed.

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