Dan Price, the Idaho CEO who has set a $70K minimum annual salary, resigns from his company

Dan Price, the Idaho CEO who has set a $70K minimum annual salary, resigns from his company

The Seattle CEO of Idaho, who achieved national fame by setting a minimum wage of $70,000 for all his employees — and to match his own salary — has resigned from the company he founded in college after allegations of assault.

Dan Price said he is stepping down from Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company, to spend more time “fighting false accusations”. Earlier this year, he was accused of kissing a woman against her will, the Seattle Times reported.

“My number 1 priority is that our employees work for the best company in the world, but my presence here has become a distraction,” he wrote in an email to staff that he also shared on Twitter on Wednesday evening. “I also have to relinquish these duties to focus full-time on fighting false accusations made against me,” adding, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Price did not address the allegations or immediately respond to a request for comment. Gravity Payments did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Price is a frequent critic of business leaders and the huge pay gap between them and their employees. Price rose to fame in 2015 after announcing that he would increase each employee’s salary 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 cut his own $1 million in compensation to that floor, took a more than 90% pay cut, and drained about three-quarters of that year’s profits to cover higher wages, the report added. Price said he would keep his salary low until the profits were recovered.

On Twitter, Price praised the success of his company’s model and the benefits for employees. The minimum wage for employees is now $80,000, he said, and employees received $10,000 base raises this year. Job openings typically attract more than 300 applicants, he said.

The original salary cap was set the same year Price won a legal battle against his older brother, Lucas Price. A three-week lawsuit followed after his brother alleged his rights as a minority shareholder had been violated when Dan Price increased his own salary later that year. A King County Superior Court judge disagreed and ordered Lucas Price to pay his brother’s legal costs, totaling $1.3 million.

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Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, talks with employees at a grand opening of Gravity Payments’ new Boise office in 2019. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Price grew up between Melba and Marsing in rural Canyon County, the Idaho Statesman previously reported. His father, Ron Price, is a longtime business consultant, speaker, and author of Boise.

Price was 19 when he started Gravity Payments from his dorm room at Seattle Pacific University in 2004, with 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., which employed 40 people.

Now 38, Price’s public persona has been shaped around his advocacy for average workers and criticism of big business. He wrote a 2020 book titled “Worth It: How a Million-Dollar Pay Cut and a $70,000 Minimum Wage Revealed a Better Way of Doing Business.”

He also wrote that 98% of Gravity Payments employees volunteered to temporarily cut their pay from 5 to 100% to avoid layoffs. Price said Wednesday that the company has never laid off a single employee in its 18-year history.

The company’s chief operating officer, Tammi Kroll, has stepped down as CEO, Price said in his 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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