The CEO of Seattle, Idaho who rose to national fame for setting a $70,000 minimum wage for all his employees, and cutting his own to match it, has resigned as CEO of the company founded at the university amid misdemeanor assault accusations.
Dan Price said he would resign from Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company, to spend more time “fighting false accusations.” Earlier this year, he was accused of trying to kiss a woman against his will, the Seattle Times reported.
Price resigned shortly before The New York Times published an investigative story detailing numerous women’s allegations of inappropriate behavior. “Mr. Price’s fame on the Internet has enabled a pattern of abuse in his personal life and hostile behavior at his company, interviews with more than 50 people, documents and police reports show,” the Times article says.
“My no. The number 1 priority is that our employees work for the best company in the world, but my presence has become a distraction here,” Price wrote in an email to his staff that he also shared on Twitter Wednesday night. “I also need to step away from these duties to focus full time on fighting the false accusations against me,” adding, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Price did not elaborate on the allegations or immediately respond to a request for comment. Gravity Payments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A frequent critic of corporate executives and the huge pay gap between them and their workers, Price rose to fame in 2015 after announcing that he would raise all employees’ pay to at least $70,000. At the time, its 120 employees were paid an average salary of $48,000 a year, according to the Times.
He also lowered his own $1 million compensation to that floor, taking a more than 90% pay cut, and parlayed about three-quarters of that year’s earnings to cover higher salaries, the report added. Price said he would keep his salary low until he recouped the profits.
On Twitter, Price touted the success of his company’s model and the benefits it provides to employees. The minimum wage for workers is now $80,000, she said, and staff members received base raises of $10,000 this year. Job openings typically attract more than 300 applicants, she said.
The original salary floor was set the same year Price won a legal battle against his older brother, Lucas Price. A three-week court battle ensued after his brother alleged that his rights as a minority shareholder were violated when Dan Price raised his own salary later that year. A King County Superior Court judge disagreed, ordering Lucas Price to pay his brother’s legal fees, totaling $1.3 million.
the price grew between Melba and Marsing in rural Canyon County, the Idaho Statesman previously reported. He graduated from Nampa Christian High in 2003. His father, Rum Priceis a long-time Boise business consultant, speaker, and author.
Price was 19 when he started Gravity Payments in 2004 in his dorm room at Seattle Pacific University, a Christian liberal arts college, using seed money from Lucas Price, according to the Times.
In 2019, Dan Price visited Boise to open a Gravity Payments office at 110 N. 27th St., where 40 people worked.
Now 38, Price’s public persona is based on his defense of average workers and his criticism of big business. He is the author of a 2020 book titled “It Pays Off: How a Million-Dollar Pay Cut and a $70,000 Minimum Wage Revealed a Better Way to Do Business.”
He also wrote that 98% of Gravity Payments employees volunteered to temporarily reduce their salary from 5% to 100% to avoid layoffs. On Wednesday, Price said the company has never laid off a single employee in its 18-year history.
The company’s chief operating officer, Tammi Kroll, has taken over as chief executive officer, Price said in her announcement.
Idaho Statesman Business and Local News Editor David Staats contributed.
This story was originally published August 18, 2022 13:32.
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