By Sabin Iqbal, Group Editor, TECHx Media
As Jack Dorsey, co-founder of social media giant Twitter, quits as CEO, questions are being asked about what cost him the job?
Twitter’s chief technology officer Parag Agrawal has replaced Dorsey as the company’s CEO. Yet another Indian-origin techie in the top post of a global giant.
In his resignation letter—posted on Twitter—Dorsey writes: “There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a 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 away from its founding and failures.”
There has been criticism over Dorsey’s leadership of late. Some say his attention had been split between Twitter and the payments firm he co-founded and led, Square, which is valued at $100 billion on stock exchange. Employees and investors have been unhappy about Dorsey’s leadership, it is reported.
Dorsey, 45, has been CEO of Twitter since 2015. He led Twitter through a rocky but relatively successful period in the last few years. Twitter has shown signs that it is ready to adapt to its users’ interests.
Last year, Elliott Management, a major activist investor, tried to oust Dorsey but he managed to hang on. Those who bayed for Dorsey’s head said his heart was in other projects and passions, and they said leading Twitter is a full-time job.
The New York Times reports: “Chief among Elliott’s concerns was that Mr. Dorsey’s attention was divided between the two companies he led. The firm believed that Twitter had fallen behind social media rivals in increasing its stock price and adding innovative new products.”
Interestingly, Dorsey tweeted after his resignation, ‘I love Twitter.’
It is true that recently Dorsey has turned his attention to tech beyond Twitter. He tweets a lot about Bitcoin, Web3, and other decentralised technologies. He is still the CEO of Square.
In his resignation letter, Dorsey has singled out Agrawal for praise, saying that his trust in him is ‘bone deep’. “He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.”
Thirty-seven-year-old Agrawal, a Bombay IIT alumnus, is the latest among the Indian origins to take over a major tech company in the US. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google-parent Alphabet, and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, are the most prominent among the current leaders.
Agrawal joined Twitter in October 2011 as an engineer. Before joining Twitter, he did his internships at AT&T, Yahoo and Microsoft. He completed his PhD from Stanford University in 2011. His early work on using Artificial Intelligence to increase the relevance of tweets on timelines is well appreciated.
Patrick Collison, CEO of Stripe, tweeted: “Google, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM, Palo Alto Networks, and now Twitter run by CEOs who grew up in India. Wonderful to watch the amazing success of Indians in the technology world…” Elon Musk replied: “USA benefits greatly from the Indian talent.”