Reddit is a business driven by ad revenue and to a lesser extent user donations. If the activity doesn't drop appreciably then they really won't notice. Focus will shift to safer, less controversial subreddits like /r/catpictures and /r/earthporn. The character of reddit will change but that won't prompt any soul searching as long as the revenue keeps up.
This is the reason why I'm glad that I left. Years back it was a place created by people who wanted to share ideas, where the principle of getting along.
I actually went back and searched for an example of the past: https://www.reddit.com/comments/bexqj/
Look at the complains from the users and the admin response. Would you see this happening now?
Of course not, because the emphasis has become, as you say, on the fact that "Reddit is a business". I'm not saying it's not natural to have money-making in mind, but leaving the user behind for monetary gain deserves to be punished.
I have this feeling that they have almost as many sysadmins and programmers with the same amount of budget, but more of their profit is getting greedily absorbed by their shareholders. Because why bother spending more money on infrastructure and customer support when you can just pocket all of that fat cash?
As far as I know, reddit's never really been that profitable, and in fact has been operating at a loss for several years... see this article from 2013 as an example. Also, it's a private company, so in order to have shareholders to be beholden to profit-wise they'd have to go public first, which also means that they'd have to have proof that they can be profitable... which is quite likely why Pao was brought in. That said, they do have a board of directors, but it's pretty much just Alexis Ohanian and maybe one other dude.
Not to mention there are highly niche subreddits that don't care about all the drama. Those people will probably stay and be business as usual.
I dunno -- I moderated (moderate?) two highly niche subreddits (one had about 15k subscribers, the other 7.5k), and while I wasn't that put off by the drama, it gets to the point where "community" is just more valuable. Have I left Reddit permanently? Not by any means, but I've vastly reduced my usage of the site. We've been seeing a little less activity in those "niche" subs, too.