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Feedster: ‘Evolution’ Or Corp. Darwinism?

Jason Lee Miller
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-12-23

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With the backing of Feedster co-founder and former Chief Technical Officer Scott Johnson, then Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chris Redlitz was promoted to president of the company on November 7th. By December 14th, Johnson was not only given his walking papers, but also was voted off the board of directors. Redlitz was voted onto the board in his place. Unlike when Redlitz was promoted to president, no press release was issued announcing the change.

As seemingly damning as that information is, Redlitz insists there were no philosophical differences, political battles, or dramatic conflict around Johnson's departure.

"There's been a lot of banter back and forth. Changes like this are not infrequent for companies in Silicon Valley. A decision was made by me and the board and it was the right decision. There was nothing contentious," said Redlitz.

Redlitz calls the change part of Feedster's "natural evolution." As president, he says, it is his responsibility to make sure the right team is in place as the company moves forward.

"We need to have people that work in lockstep. There's no particular disagreement.," he said.

The right team Redlitz spoke of apparently could not include star coder, co-founder of the company, holder of over 500,000 shares, and successful entrepreneur Johnson, who just a week before appeared at the Search Engine Strategies Conference in Chicago speaking passionately about the direction of the company.

Even though Redlitz admits Johsnon had a "great idea that turned into a great business," the company's future would not involve Johsnon as a board member, not even as an employee.

"Growth is painful for some. This is just part of going forward," said Redlitz.

Despite what that might say about the relationship between Redlitz and Johnson, Redlitz says denying Johnson a future with a company he began is "not a criminalization of Scott Johnson."

Not a criminalization, but the situation does seem ripe for contention. It is difficult to imagine that a co-founder would take kindly to being removed from his own company during his absence.

But Feedster spokesman, George Simpson, told WebProNews, "there wasn't any sort drama attached to it."

This is a much different take on the matter than what was reported on the blog of Technorati's Niall Kennedy.

"I can tell you this was not of [Johnson's] will or a pleasant process…I think once some dagger wounds heal Scott will be much happier on his next project," writes Kennedy.

Despite the reported dagger wounds, Redlitz maintains there was nothing contentious and he hopes to resolve the situation "amicably."

As to why a change to the board of directors of the company wasn't announced, Redlitz said, "we did not make an announcement because we didn't feel it was appropriate to make that announcement."

Simpson concurs, "the simple truth is I wasn't asked to write [a press release]."

Johnson continues to have no comment on the situation and is moving on to his next project, Ookles.com.




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About the Author:
Jason L. Miller is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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