Jack Dorsey steps down as CEO of Twitter, the social media company he co-founded in 2006. He will be replaced by Twitter’s chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, a long serving employee of the company.
Agrawal, who has been with the company for a decade, was currently serving as chief technology officer but he started from behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile and politically volatile jobs. But who is he, and what can we expect for Twitter under his leadership?
Agrawal is a “‘safe’ pick who should be looked upon as favorably by investors”, wrote the CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino, who noted that the Twitter shareholder Elliott Management had pressured Dorsey to step down.
Dorsey although has stepped down as CEO, he will remain on the company’s board of directors until May of next year. He once left the company after a falling out with a fellow co-founder but returned to the top job in 2015.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey in a statement said. “My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead,” he added.
Who is Parag Agrawal?
Agrawal is 37 years of age and an Indian immigrant.
He is not a popular person inside and outside Twitter itself and comes from outside the ranks of celebrity CEOs. However, his lack of name recognition, coupled with a solid technical background, appears to be what some of Twitter’s biggest backers were looking for in the company’s next chapter.
He has worked his way up from an engineer to become its top executive.
He first started at Twitter back in October 2011 with a focus on ad products, then he became the first recipient of the company’s “Distinguished Engineer” role. He was then later appointed chief technology officer somewhere in October 2017, during which time he’s jumped in to address high-profile problems (like a large-scale password security issue) and take on some of the company’s bolder initiatives (like decentralization)
Agrawal is the fourth person to head Twitter, after Dorsey (who led the company from 2006 to 2008, and again from 2015 until now), Evan Williams (who co-founded Twitter alongside Dorsey and served as CEO from 2008 to 2010), and Dick Costolo (Twitter’s former COO, who served as CEO from 2010 through 2015).
“I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” Agrawal wrote in an email to Twitter employees on Monday. “But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.”
The company currently faces a number of challenges, including slow growth in its user base since competitors like TikTok, snapchat and Instagram lure away users especially youngers ones with features that are more exciting, genuine and spontaneous. , As well as continuing struggles with misinformation and hate speech.
Though recently it introduced new features like Twitter Blue, a subscription service for frequent users, and Twitter Spaces for audio chats, as a way to increase revenue and attract new users.
Dorsey steered the company through a high-profile hack and the controversial banning of former president Donald Trump, who tested the boundaries of the platform’s enforcement against hate speech and misinformation.
Dorsey shared an email to staff members of the company announcing his departure, he described it as “a tough one” but as his own decision.
“There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego,” he wrote. “I know we’ll prove this was the right move,” he said.
“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” Agrawal said in an email to employees. “But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results.”
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