'$70K CEO' Dan Price Resigns

Gravity Payments CEO says he's focusing on fighting 'false accusations' of misconduct
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2022 11:28 AM CDT
'$70K CEO' Dan Price Resigns
Employees are seen next to a wall displaying a company mission statement in the sales department at Gravity Payments.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price has resigned—and the move is apparently unconnected to his 2015 decision to pay all employees, including himself, a $70,000 salary. In a tweet Wednesday, the CEO of the Seattle-based payments processing company shared a letter to his colleagues in which he said he was resigning after 18 years because his "presence has become a distraction." Price has faced allegations of misconduct and was charged with misdemeanor assault and reckless driving earlier this year after allegations that he tried to kiss a woman in his Tesla after a dinner meeting, the Seattle Times reports. He allegedly grabbed her throat when she refused, then drove "doughnuts" in a parking lot.

Price pleaded not guilty in May. "I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full time on fighting false accusations made against me," he said in his letter to colleagues. "I'm not going anywhere." The AP reports that allegations Price abused ex-wife Kristie Colon surfaced in 2015, but he denied that events she described in a TEDx talk, including being waterboarded, ever happened. The following year, Price defeated a lawsuit filed by his brother over issues including the CEO's compensation.

In 2020, five years after Price introduced his $70,000 plan—and took a pay cut from his own $1 million salary—he said the experiment had been a success, though there'd been a few bumps in the road. Gravity Payments now has 240 employees, and Price said in another tweet Wednesday that all employees received a a raise of at least $10,000 at the start of this year, bringing the company's minimum salary to $80,000, with a median wage of more than $100,000. He said that in the years after many salaries rose to $70,000 overnight, there was a huge surge in the number of employees having children and owning homes. Price said the company had 300 applications for every job and had never laid anybody off. "I'm proud of what we've done," he wrote. (More Gravity Payment stories.)

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