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What might have led to Jack Dorsey’s resignation and who is replacing him?

During his time as CEO, Dorsey faced pressure from a stakeholder group that aggressively pushed for changes.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO and one of its four founders, has stepped down from his role at the company, he announced in an email sent internally, and later tweeted. Dorsey said he would be staying on the company’s board until 2022, when his term reportedly ends. In his email, he said that during this time he will be guiding the new CEO (former CTO) Parag Agrawal and board chair Bret Taylor with the transition, after which he will leave.

In his email, Dorsey said that his resignation was his own decision.

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of company being founder-led. Ultimately, I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break form its founding and founders. — Internal email by Jack Dorsey

However, Twitter’s low stock growth coupled with one of the company’s investors saying last year that they were keen on replacing Dorsey, may have played a role in his stepping down.

Problems raised with Dorsey’s leadership

Dorsey, who founded Twitter in 2006 has had multiple shifts in his position at the social media platform – Dorsey was fired from his position as CEO in 2008 due to alleged mismanagement and absenteeism, following which he was reinstated in 2015 and moved through higher positions before announcing his resignation yesterday. Among Dorsey’s critics, the most vocal has been Elliot Management Corp., an activist investor group that bought a 4% stake in the company and pushed for changes soon after.

Metrics and money: Elliot Management’s agreement with Twitter involved ‘aggressive growth targets’ according to a report in Platformer. This involved growing its user base by 20% last year, speeding up revenue growth, and increasing its market share as an advertiser – which the company has not gotten close to achieving. The company’s stock prices are also not very high, the report said.

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Part-time CEO: Following its investment, Elliot Management tried to replace four board members with its own nominees to reportedly pressure Dorsey to improve Twitter’s stock prices or leave Square, the payments company he founded and ran alongside Twitter. Dorsey’s involvement with Square became an issue in 2015 as well when the company’s board said ‘it would consider only a full-time employee’ for  CEO – before changing its mind.

What do we know about the new company leaders?

Parag Agrawal: In Dorsey’s email, he mentions that Agrawal started off as an engineer in the company a decade ago, rising the ranks to become the Chief Technology Officer. According to reports, Parag was heavily involved in projects like BlueSky (Twitter’s attempt at setting open standards for decentralised social media platforms), addressing racial bias in photo previews, addressing a 2018 password bug, etc.

Bret Taylor: An existing board member, Bret Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer and President of Salesforce Inc. will now be the chairman of the board. In his email, Dorsey said that he had asked Taylor to become a board member after he became CEO. “He understands entreprenuership, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technologies, products and he’s an engineer,” Dorsey said.

A key position possibly lies vacant in Twitter India

Meanwhile, there is ambiguity over Twitter India’s current Director of Public Policy. While the company had started hiring for a public policy head for India and South Asia earlier this year, after former executive Mahima Kaul resigned, it is unclear if the position has been filled. Twitter has since removed the listing from its website and professional networking site Linkedin, although no formal announcement of a replacement has been made.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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