Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave returns as CEO

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave has resumed his role as chief executive officer, six months after stepping down amidst controversy over his remarks on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Cosgrave faced criticism for his social media post on October 13, where he stated that “war crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies,” referring to Israel’s actions in response to Hamas attacks on October 7.

Speaking about his return, Cosgrave acknowledged taking time off for the first time in 15 years, during which he reconnected with colleagues and listened to feedback from the Web Summit community.

As the majority stakeholder in Web Summit, Cosgrave’s return marks a significant development for the organization, known for hosting one of the world’s largest tech conferences annually, attracting around 70,000 participants and featuring speakers from global tech companies, startups, and political figures.

Following Cosgrave’s resignation, former Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher briefly assumed the top position but stepped down last month to join National Public Radio as Chief Executive.

Meanwhile, Web Summit has announced plans to enhance its conference experience by focusing on community engagement, including testing software to facilitate connections between attendees.

Additionally, the company has experimented with small meetup events catering to specific industries, such as product engineering and marketing.

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