Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Parag Agrawal is replacing its founder Jack Dorsey at the helm of the social media giant “starting today”, its now former CEO has announced in a tweet.
“The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag,” Dorsey wrote in a letter to Twitter employees, which he aptly shared in a tweet.
Shares in the social media giant had surged as much as 11 per cent in pre-market trading in the US today, when reports first emerged that Dorsey may be stepping down.
But on the news that Agrawal was stepping into the driving seat, they slumped 2.66 per cent.
In a separate statement released by the company, Dorsey said: “I’ve decided to leave because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders.
“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 continued.
Parag Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 as an engineer and was appointed as CTO in October 2017. During his time in the role, he worked on Twitter’s technical strategy, including its rollout of Machine Learning.
He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University, and a Bachelor’s degrree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
“Our purpose has never been more important,” Agrawal wrote in his response to Dorsey and Twitter’s employees, which he then shared on Twitter.
“Our people and culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together,” he continued.
Twitter stocks surged as much as 10.5 per cent in pre market trading when the first reports emerged that Dorsey was set to step down, while shares rose 3 per cent at digital payments firm Square, where he also fills the CEO seat.
Trading in Twitter’s shares were then suspended ahead of an expected announcement, lifted 4.5 per cent as trading resumed, but then fell back and dropped into the red – suggesting investors weren’t so sold on the news.
“Such has been the consternation surrounding Jack Dorsey’s ‘part-time’ role as CEO Twitter, that it’s little surprise investors initially reacted positively to speculation that he was leaving the platform,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown.
“But the initial euphoria fizzled out, as the new pick for the driving seat […] appeared to underwhelm investors.”
Last year, activist investor Elliott Management built up a stake in the social media firm, nominated four directors to its board, and tried to oust Dorsey as CEO.
Paul Singer, the billionaire founder of the New York-based hedge fund, said at the time that Dorsey should choose one company to lead.
When the reports first emerged, Dorsey’s last tweet on the microblogging platform read like this …
Agrawal has a significant job on his hands as he steps into the bosses chair at Twitter, after the company ramped up its product innovation and business goals in the last year to fend off competition from social media rivals Facebook and Tik Tok.
Earlier this year, the company said it aimed to have 315m daily active users by the end of 2023, and was aiming for double annual revenue that year.
“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” Agrawal wrote in his email to the company.
“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.”
Founded in 2006, Twitter has grown from being nothing more than a micro-blogging site to one of the most visited websites ever, with more than 330m active monthly users.
Twitter’s influence has grown considerably under Dorsey’s tenure, with the likes of previous US President Donald Trump being permanently banned from the platform after the storming of Congress in January.