Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price resigns amid assault allegations

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The Seattle CEO who rose to nationwide prominence for setting a $70,000 minimal wage for all his staff — and slashing his personal to match — has resigned from the corporate he based in faculty amid accusations of misdemeanor assault.

Dan Price stated Wednesday that he was stepping down from Gravity Payments, a bank card processing agency, to dedicate extra time to “fighting false allegations.” Earlier this yr, he was accused of trying to kiss a lady in opposition to her will, the Seattle Occasions 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,” he wrote in an e-mail to employees that he additionally shared on Twitter on Wednesday evening. “I also need to step aside from these duties to focus full time on fighting false accusations made against me,” including, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Price didn’t elaborate on the allegations or instantly reply to a request for remark. Gravity Payments didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

A frequent critic of company executives and the huge pay hole between them and their employees, Price received nationwide acclaim in 2015 after asserting he would elevate each worker’s wage to at the very least $70,000. At the moment, his 120 staff have been paid a mean wage of $48,000 a yr, in accordance with the Occasions.

He additionally lowered his personal $1 million compensation to that flooring, taking a greater than 90 p.c pay lower, and tapped roughly three-quarters of that yr’s income to cowl the upper wages, the report added. Price stated he would maintain his wage low till the income have been earned again.

On Twitter Price touted the success of his firm’s mannequin and the advantages afforded to staff. The minimal pay for employees is now $80,000, he stated, and employees obtained a $10,000 baseline elevate this yr. Job openings sometimes appeal to greater than 300 candidates, he stated.

The unique wage flooring was set the identical yr Price received a authorized battle in opposition to his brother, Lucas Price. A 3-week court docket battle ensued after his older brother, Lucas Price, alleged that his rights as a minority shareholder have been violated when Dan Price upped his personal wage. A King County Superior Court docket choose disagreed, and ordered Lucas Price to pay his brother’s authorized charges, totaling $1.3 million.

Price was 19 when he began Gravity Payments in 2004 out of his dorm room at Seattle Pacific College, utilizing seed cash from Lucas Price, in accordance with the Occasions.

Now 38, Price’s public persona is formed round his advocacy for common employees and criticism of huge enterprise. He authored a 2020 e-book entitled “Worth It: How a Million-Dollar Pay Cut and a $70,000 Minimum Wage Revealed a Better Way of Doing Business.” That very same yr, he wrote a perspective piece for The Washington Submit, championing his firm’s remedy of employees as a mannequin that allowed employees to resolve tips on how to confront the financial shocks through the early months of the pandemic.

He additionally wrote that 98 p.c of Gravity Payments staff volunteered to quickly lower their pay from 5 to one hundred pc to keep away from layoffs. On Wednesday Price stated that the corporate has by no means laid off a single worker in its 18-year historical past.

Price’s profile rose as a broader dialog was enjoying out round pay disparity and financial inequality, with company America and their extremely compensated executives usually catching the brunt of the criticism.

A 2019 evaluation by researchers on the Financial Coverage Institute discovered that compensation for prime executives over the previous 4 a long time rose nearly 1,000 p.c after adjusting for inflation. The research discovered that common pay for prime companies leaders on the nation’s 350 largest corporations amounted to 1$ million per yr or greater than $17 million when the realized worth of inventory choices are factored in.

In the meantime the minimal wage on the federal degree has remained unchanged since 2009, at $7.25 an hour. Though some state governments have taken the lead on elevating the ground to upwards of $15.

The corporate’ chief working officer, Tammi Kroll, has stepped in as CEO, Price stated in his announcement.

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