Paddy Cosgrave returns to Web Summit after resigning over Israel criticism 

  • Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave on Monday returned as its chief executive.
  • Cosgrave resigned last November following backlash over remarks he made about Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza.
  • Cosgrave’s remarks led several tech firms, including Google and Meta, to announce they were pulling out of a conference in Portugal last November.
  • Web Summit said the new plans is to make its conference more convivial and community-focused.

Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave on Monday returned as its chief executive, six months after resigning from the top job following a backlash over his comments on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Cosgrave’s October comments

Cosgrave resigned as president of the Lisbon conference last October after coming under fire over a social media post he wrote accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

“I’m shocked at the rhetoric and actions of so many Western leaders & governments, with the exception in particular of Ireland’s government, who for once are doing the right thing,” Cosgrave said in the post on X.

“War crimes are war crimes even when committed by allies, and should be called out for what they are,” he added.

Cosgrave’s remarks led a number of tech firms, including Google, Amazon, Meta, Stripe, and Siemens, to announce their withdrawal from the conference.

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Cosgrave reinstatement as CEO

Cosgrave confirmed in a post on X that he’ll be back as CEO of Web Summit.

In his statement, Cosgrave made no reference to the politicised comments he made that led to his departure less than six months ago. Instead, Cosgrave argued for a de-escalation of the situation, announcing plans to shift his focus to “smaller” groups.

“As Web Summit becomes bigger, our aim should be to make it smaller for our attendees. 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,” he wrote.

Former Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher took over from Cosgrave before stepping down last month to become CEO of National Public Radio in the United States.


Jennifer Yu

Jennifer Yu is an intern reporter at BTW Media covering artificial intelligence and products. She graduated from The University of Hong Kong. Send tips to

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