Dan Price, CEO who cut his pay so workers earned $70,000, quits

A Seattle CEO who announced in 2015 that he was giving himself a drastic pay cut to help cover the cost of big raises for his employees has announced his resignation.

Dan Price, the embattled CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments, resigned Wednesday, The Seattle Times reported.

“My No. 1 priority is for our employees to work for the best company in the world, but my presence has become a distraction here,” Price wrote in a statement on Twitter. He founded the company 18 years ago.

“I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full time on fighting false accusations made against me,” he wrote. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Earlier this year, Seattle prosecutors charged Price with misdemeanor assault against a woman and reckless driving. Prosecutors say Price tried to forcibly kiss a woman. He pleaded not guilty in May; the case remains ongoing.

Seven years ago, Price stunned his 100-plus workers when he told them he was cutting his roughly $1 million salary to $70,000 and using company profits to ensure that everyone there would earn at least that much within three years. That amounted to a 46% jump from Gravity Payments’ average annual salary at the time of $48,000. About 70 employees at the company saw raises, with 30 doubling their annual salaries.

“I’m so happy how people’s lives are changing, because they deserve it, and they deserve every penny of it,” Price said in 2016. “For me to make the sacrifice in the short term, I’d rather this than a vacation home in Palm Springs or the Hamptons. I guarantee that this will pay off.”

Gravity Payments now pays employees a minimum wage of $80,000 per year, Price tweeted this week.

Price, 38, has run into other legal trouble. His brother Lucas sued him in 2015, alleging that Dan Price was overpaying himself and mismanaging the company. A King County judge ruled that Dan had not violated Lucas’ rights as a minority shareholder.

dan price, ceo who cut his pay so workers earned $70,000, quits

CEO who gave all his employees minimum $70,000 paycheck thriving six years later 05:14

Allegations that Price had abused ex-wife Kristie Colon also surfaced that year. A Bloomberg report recounted an October 2015 TEDx talk given by Colon during which she described being beaten and waterboarded by her ex, without naming Price. Price told Bloomberg those events “never happened.”

Chief operating officer Tammi Kroll will take over as Gravity Payments’ CEO.

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