World

Dan Price leaves Gravity Payments, vows to fight 'false allegations'

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.

Price said his 'presence has become a distraction' at company he founded

A file photo from April 2015 shows sales representatives working at the Seattle-based Gravity Payments. Dan Price announced this week that he was stepping down as CEO from the company that he founded. Price said he was doing so 'to focus full-time on fighting false accusations' made against him. (Ted S. Warren/The Associated Press)

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.

Price stunned his 100-plus workers several years ago when he told them he was cutting his roughly $1-million US salary to $70,000 and using company profits to ensure that everyone there would earn at least that much within three years.

The story of Price's salary switch drew a lot of media attention. But his personal behaviour has since come under greater scrutiny and he referenced allegations made against him in his decision to resign.

"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."

Series of allegations

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.

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

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."

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

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