Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and founder of Web Summit, one of Europe’s largest technology conferences, has resigned as CEO after comments he made about Israel drew criticism.
On October 13 Cosgrave tweeted that he was “shocked by the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders and governments, with the exception of the Irish government in particular, which for once is doing the right thing. War crimes are war crimes, even when committed by allies, and must be called out for what they are.”
He doubled about his thoughts two days later, while also clarifying that what Hamas is doing is “outrageous and disgusting” and an “act of monstrous evil.” But, he added, Israel’s response has gone too far.
“Israel has the right to defend itself, but it does not, as I have said, have the right to violate international law,” he tweeted on October 15, explaining that Ireland has found a path to peace during its war between Ulster Freedom. Fighters and the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Cosgrave’s resignation follows several major tech companies, including Google, Meta and Amazon, reportedly withdrawing from the tech leadership following his comments.
He announced on Saturday that he would be leaving his position, with a statement accompanied by a spokesperson saying the company will appoint a new CEO as soon as possible. Web Summit’s Lisbon conference will go ahead as planned in November.
“Unfortunately, my personal comments have become a distraction from the event, and from our team, our sponsors, our startups and the people who attend,” Cosgrave wrote in a statement. “Once again I sincerely apologize for the pain I have caused.”