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Kleiner Perkins partner who pushed for Ellen Pao firing to leave firm

General partner Matt Murphy, who testified that he recommended firing Pao, expects to move to a smaller venture firm.

Ellen Pao during a post-trial interview with Yahoo News. Yahoo


The partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers who testified in a closely-watched sex discrimination lawsuit that Ellen Pao's work wasn't compelling enough, leading her eventual firing, said Monday he is leaving the venture capital firm.

General partner Matt Murphy, who led investments in mobile and business-focused startups, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Monday that he is leaving the influential Silicon Valley venture capital firm to pursue new opportunities, likely with a smaller VC firm. He did not give an exact date on his departure.

Murphy told partners he was leaving the firm earlier this year and mentioned it last month during his lengthy testimony at the landmark sex discrimination trial against Pao. Murphy has been with the firm since 1999.

"We've enjoyed partnering with Matt for the past 15 years at KPCB, and will continue to partner with him wherever he ends up," Kleiner general partner Ted Schlein said in a statement Monday.

Murphy, 48, arguably gave the most critical testimony during Kleiner Perkins' monthlong trial against Pao. Describing himself as a mentor, Murphy testified that Pao felt entitled, frequently did not meet job expectations and was disrespectful. He suggested Pao try contributing more "thought leadership" to become a "go-to" person at the firm.

He said Pao embarrassed him by falling asleep during a board meeting, and at the end of a 60-day evaluation period in September 2012, he recommended that Pao be terminated. The firm fired Pao the following month.

She subsequently sued, alleging Kleiner Perkins had a sexist culture that discriminated and retaliated against her. On March 27, a San Francisco jury rejected Pao's claims.

Pao, 45, said she sued Kleiner Perkins for $16 million to force change in behavior at the firm and at other companies as well. Pao, the current interim CEO of the social networking and news site Reddit, said in a post-trial interview with Yahoo News that "we're in the midst of making some decisions" in regards to possibly appealing the verdict.

Murphy told the Journal he preferred helping younger startups develop rather than investing in more mature, pre-IPO companies. He said part of his inspiration for leaving was watching some of his former colleagues depart to run their own VC firms.

"I felt it was time for me to find my next chapter as part of a smaller partnership," said Murphy who will still serve on many company boards while at Kleiner Perkins. It is not known when he will be leaving.