Paddy Cosgrave back as Web Summit CEO

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock

The Irish entrepreneur stepped down six months ago after condemning Israel's attack on Gaza, without mentioning Hamas's October 7 atrocities.

Irish entrepreneur Paddy Cosgrave announced on LinkedIn today that he has returned as Web Summit CEO. Last October he stepped down as CEO of Web Summit, one of the world's biggest tech and startup conferences which he cofounded, after tweeting to condemn Israel's attack on Gaza without mentioning Hamas's atrocities on October 7.

This led a range of investors and tech companies including Israeli startups to protest Cosgrave's stand while they and tech giants including Google, Meta, Intel and Amazon withdrew from the annual Web Summit Conference in Portugal in November.

In response, before resigning, Cosgrave published an apology. "I unreservedly condemn Hamas’ evil, disgusting and monstrous October 7 attack. I also call for the unconditional release of all hostages." He added, "I unequivocally support Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself."

"I took time-out"

Cosgrave has now announced that he is returning to the job. In his announcement on X (formerly Twitter) he does not mention the storm around his October 7 comments and says, " When I stepped back last year, it was the first time I had taken time off in 15 years. It gave me time to think about Web Summit, its history, why I started it on my own from my bedroom and what I wanted it to be. I took the time to reconnect with old Web Summit friends and I listened to what they had to say and what they wanted from Web Summit."

He continued, "Some incredible tech advancements, relationships, partnerships, and companies have grown from our events and I want to continue building on this. If anything I want to supercharge this mission even further to build even stronger communities within Web Summit. In a very real sense, as Web Summit becomes bigger, our aim should be to make it smaller for our attendees. More intimate. More convivial. More community focused. We will seed small communities at our events, and then help those communities thrive long after each event."

There was skepticism about Cosgrave's plans to walk away from Web Summit because he is the only shareholder in the company behind the conference, and it was unclear who would replace him, and even if he left the position as CEO he would still remain the owner who earned all the profits from the venture.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on April 8, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave credit: Shutterstock
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