CNBC announced this morning that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is expected to step down from his post at the social media company. Soon after, Dorsey himself confirmed rumors and Twitter issued a press release with more details. Parag Agrawal, who joined Twitter as an engineer in 2011 and has served as CTO since 2017, will take over from Dorsey.
“There’s a lot of talk about how important it is for a business to be ‘run by the founder’,” Dorsey wrote in an email to staff at Twitter, which he also spoke to. tweeted. âAt the end of the day, I think it’s very limiting and it’s a single point of failure. I worked hard so that this company could break with its founder and its founders.
Dorsey is the CEO of Twitter and Square, a financial firm that serves both retail and business customers with payment, cash management and transfer services.
Twitter says Dorsey will remain on Twitter’s board until his term expires at the 2022 shareholders meeting. Along with Dorsey’s departure, Bret Taylor, president and chief operating officer of Salesforce, has been appointed the new chairman of the board, succeeding Patrick Pichette who will remain on the board and continue to chair the audit committee, the company said.
Dorsey says Taylor’s addition to the board is one of the reasons he felt comfortable stepping down, noting that Taylor “understands entrepreneurship, risk taking, large scale business. , technology, products and he’s an engineer.
Twitter said there was no change in the company’s previously shared outlook for the fourth quarter and full year 2021, or its goals for 2023, as a result of these leadership changes.
Twitter action rose on news Dorsey could step down, trading up 6.1% at the time of writing after giving up some early gains in the opening minutes of the week’s trading cycle . Update: Twitter shares are now effectively flat on this day, down around 0.13% at the time of this update (Monday at 12:43 p.m. ET).
For comparison, Twitter is worth around $ 40 billion today. Not a small number, to be clear, but less than half the value of Square, which has a public market value of just over $ 99 billion.
Functioning a public enterprise is work. Functioning of them is rare and, we presume, not a simple feat. Square shares are also trading higher this morning, albeit to a lesser extent. (Twitter sparked investor dissent for its CEO’s break time.) Square confirmed to TechCrunch that there was no change in Dorsey’s role, or anything else related to leadership, strategy. or the financial perspective.
“I want you all to know it was my decision and I take it,” Dorsey wrote to her team. âThere aren’t many founders who choose their business over their own egos. I know we will prove it was the right decision.
âMy confidence in Parag as CEO of Twitter runs deep,â he said, praising his successor in the released statement. âHis work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I am deeply grateful for his talent, his heart and his soul. It is up to him to lead.
While at Twitter, Agrawal was responsible for the technical strategy of the company and led the work to improve the speed of development. He also advanced the state of machine learning on Twitter. Prior to being named CTO, Parag was Twitter’s first Distinguished Engineer due to his work in revenue and consumer engineering, including his impact on re-accelerating audience growth in 2016 and 2017, the company said. The executive has a doctorate. in computer science Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
âI would like to thank the Board of Directors for their confidence in my leadership and Jack for his continued mentorship, support and partnership,â Agrawal said in a statement. âI look forward to building on all that we have accomplished under Jack’s leadership and am incredibly stimulated by the opportunities ahead. By continuing to improve our execution, we will deliver tremendous value to our clients and shareholders as we reshape the future of public conversation. “
He also shared his email with the Twitter team in a Tweeter, noting that he is committed to executing Twitter’s strategy and achieving its “lofty goals,” but that the company will be challenged in the way it works to execute its plans and get results. Twitter will have an all-level meeting on Tuesday, with a question-and-answer session for employees, he noted.
A great product race
Twitter’s leadership and product direction has been criticized over the years for being too conservative or too slow – or both. Over the past few quarters, however, Twitter’s ability to develop and deliver new products and services has accelerated.
While Twitter’s functionality has remained largely stagnant for years – except for a few major changes like lengthening tweets – the app has introduced a slew of new features and acquisitions.
Twitter entered the live audio race with Spaces, then introduced monetization features like Ticketed Spaces, Tip Jar, and live shopping (Meta apps like Facebook and Instagram have also stepped up the pace in ecommerce. ). Most recently, the platform launched its Twitter Blue subscription service, which offers a more customizable user experience – including the ability to unsent tweets – for $ 2.99 per month.
The social giant has also opened its checkbook to bring more capacity to its service. So far this year, Twitter has acquired companies like Threader (who helped develop a feed reading experience for Twitter Blue), Sphere (a group social messaging app), Breaker (who helped create Spaces ) and, more particularly, Revue, a newsletter platform which offers editors the possibility of linking their publications directly to their profile.
Finally, it’s no secret that Dorsey is interested in crypto – his Twitter bio is literally just â#bitcoinâ – but he’s not the company’s only supporter. Twitter has been working on a way for users to display NFTs in their profiles, and more broadly, Twitter hosts Bluesky, a decentralized web project. But Dorsey’s departure may not slow down the momentum of crypto Twitter, especially after the company announced earlier this month that it will be building a dedicated crypto team. At the time, Twitter told TechCrunch that Agrawal would work with the new crypto team on the future of crypto on Twitter, helping push Twitter towards decentralization of social media through blockchain technology.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment on the news.
Update 11/29/21, 11:00 a.m. EST with confirmation of Jack’s departure and details on his successor