Neil Clark Warren is retiring from his position as chief executive of eHarmony. He will retain his position as chairman of the dating website.

The Westwood company’s board of directors has appointed long-time Vice President Grant Langston as its new chief executive.

“(Langston) has been a guiding influence for the company and understands this space better than anyone else in the industry,” said Warren, in a statement. “Additionally, he has an intuitive understanding of the business itself as well as the position of the unique eHarmony brand and I am confident that under his leadership, eHarmony will continue to grow market share and hold its position as an industry leader.”

For his part, Langston acknowledged it would be hard to fill the shoes of eHarmony founder Warren, but he said his first move as chief executive would be to update the company’s apps.

“The first order of business is our product. We’ve spent the last 4 or 5 years honing marketing, matching, and other internal mechanisms,” he said. “The product, we’ve tended to it, but haven’t made any changes to it. When I look at our apps they look dusty to me. They need to evolve in some major ways.”

Langston said he will focus mostly on improving the usability of eHarmony’s apps, including making the messaging function easier to use. And, while the vast majority of dating apps have become free services, eHarmony will remain a paid service, he said.

Warren, 81, founded dating site eHarmony in 2000, but later retired in 2007. After the site struggled in his absence, he returned in 2012 to lead the company again, refocusing the dating service on matching couples who were interested in marriage. Warren was previously a counselor and psychologist for 40 years prior to founding eHarmony.

Technology reporter Garrett Reim can be reached at greim@labusinessjournal.com. Follow @garrettreim on Twitter for the latest in L.A. tech news.

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