Dan Price, the founder and CEO of the Seattle-based credit card processing company Gravity Payments has officially resigned, he shared in an email to the company today. COO Tammi Kroll will step into the chief executive position.
Price first made headlines–and the cover of Inc.–in 2015, when he announced that he’d be taking a substantial pay cut, from $1.1 million to $70,000, to establish a minimum salary at his company. In following years, Price has run into legal trouble, including allegations of abuse. This, Price said in his resignation email (posted on Twitter), led his presence at his company to “become a distraction,” leading to his decision to step down and “focus full time on fighting false accusations” made against him.
In 2016, Price’s brother and Gravity Payments co-founder, Lucas, filed a lawsuit against the then CEO. Lucas claimed that, before his famous salary cut, Dan paid himself “excessive compensation” and violated his rights as a minority shareholder. A judge ruled in Dan’s favor.
In October 2015, Price’s ex-wife, Kristie Colón (née Lewellyn) gave a public talk at the University of Kentucky, in which she alleged abuse by her then-husband (without explicitly naming Price). In December of that year, when questioned by a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter about the allegations, Price denied them.
Earlier this year, the Seattle Times reported that a woman accused Price of attempting to kiss her and forcibly grabbing her throat after a business dinner. In May, Price pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor assault charges. The judge entered an anti-harassment protection against Price, which restricted him from contacting the alleged victim and coming withing 1,000 feet of her. A representative for Gravity Payments and Price could not be reached for comment at this time.
Since launching into the national spotlight in 2015, Price has remained a fixture in the world of thought leadership. In 2020, Gravity Payments saw its annual revenue drop by nearly 50 percent. Price called meetings with employees on how to respond; every employee elected to take a voluntary pay cut, with Price electing to forgo his salary altogether. According to Price, this allowed the company to avoid laying off 20 percent of the staff.
Today, Gravity Payments pays employees a minimum salary of $80,000, said Price in a statement he shared on Twitter after announcing his resignation. He also pointed to benchmarks of Gravity’s success, including that the company avoided laying off any single employee in its 18-year history, and that it receives “300 applications per job opening,” in spite of a lack of advertising. “I’m proud of what we’ve done,” the founder wrote.