Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey Steps Down As CEO, IIT Bombay Alumnus Parag Agrawal Replaces Him

by Karan Kamble - Nov 30, 2021 04:34 AM +05:30 IST
Twitter Co-founder Jack Dorsey Steps Down As CEO, IIT Bombay Alumnus Parag Agrawal Replaces HimParag Agrawal (R) has replaced Jack Dorsey (L) as Twitter CEO.
Snapshot
  • Jack Dorsey has stepped down as Twitter CEO.

    His successor is IITian Parag Agrawal, who has taken charge on 29 November.

Jack Dorsey announced his resignation from Twitter, via Twitter.

The co-founder of the social media platform, who spent nearly 16 years serving the company in various roles, tweeted out his resignation email on Monday (29 November).

His successor is Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Parag Agrawal, in whom Dorsey appears to have great confidence. In his email, Dorsey wrote, “My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.”

Agrawal has worked at Twitter for a little over 10 years. He started as an engineer at Twitter in 2011 and became the CTO in 2017.

Before that, Agrawal graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, with a Bachelor of Technology (B Tech) degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He went on to receive a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph D) degree from Stanford University, where he specialised again in Computer Science.

During this time, he held research positions intermittently in Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AT&T Labs. In 2011, he began his journey at Twitter, which now, 10 years later, has led him to the top job at the technology company.

“I joined this company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees,” Agrawal wrote in his email to the company, which, just as Dorsey did, he tweeted out. “While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me,” he added.

“Let’s show the world Twitter’s full potential!” he urged his team mates, as he took charge starting 29 November.

Agrawal joins a long and seemingly growing list of Indian-origin chief executives in the global technology community, which includes Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and IBM’s Arvind Krishna, to name a few.

The change in Twitter leadership also sees Bret Taylor, a veteran of Google and Salesforce, promoted from a Twitter board member to chairperson.

“He understands entrepreneurship, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s an engineer. All of the things the board and the company deserve right now,” Dorsey said about Taylor in his email statement.

Explaining his decision to call it quits, Dorsey wrote that the company, which he co-founded along with Biz Stone, Evan Williams, and Noah Glass in 2006, had to “break away from its founding and founders”.

“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,” he wrote.

Dorsey will continue to serve on the Twitter board until his term expires “May-ish” next year so that he can help with the transition. He plans to leave the board thereafter.

For now, he seems to be staying on as the CEO of his digital payment company Square, which he co-founded in 2009 and has also turned into a multi-billion dollar venture.

Holding down the top job at Square alongside Twitter made some, including investors, raise questions about Dorsey splitting time between the two companies. However, he has continued to lead Twitter and Square simultaneously.

Now that he is departing Twitter, Dorsey can direct his attention towards a passion of his that he's been very vocal about: cryptocurrency and, in particular, bitcoin.

Dorsey's Twitter bio, in fact, just reads: "bitcoin".

"The reason I have so much passion for #Bitcoin is largely because of the model it demonstrates: a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity. This is what the internet wants to be, and over time, more of it will be," Dorsey tweeted in January this year.

At the Bitcoin 2021 conference in June, he said, "If I were not at Square or Twitter, I'd be working on bitcoin. If it needed more help than Square and Twitter, I'd leave them for bitcoin."

By leaving Twitter, he has opened up space to choose his next course. Whether that will be bitcoin, time will tell.

During his time at the helm of Twitter, the most notable moment perhaps was former United States president Donald Trump’s ouster from Twitter after the US Capitol Hill riots on 6 January 2021.

"I believe this was the right decision for Twitter. We faced an extraordinary and untenable circumstance, forcing us to focus all of our actions on public safety. Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all," Dorsey tweeted after banning Trump from Twitter.

However, he acknowledged that the "ban is a failure of ours ultimately to promote healthy conversation" and actions like bans "divide us" and set "a precedent I feel is dangerous".

Dorsey led the platform when it was repeatedly put in the dock for the spread of misinformation and hate speech.

Twitter's influence as an online space for news and political conversation cannot be overstated. The social media platform is growing too — it registered 211 million daily active users earlier this year, up 13 per cent from a year ago.

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