BY ALEX WEPRIN | HollywoodReporter.Com
Dorsey, who co-founded the social networking site, will remain on the company’s board of directors through his current term, then leave the company entirely in 2022.
Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey will step down as the tech company’s chief executive. Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CTO, will succeed Dorsey as the company’s new CEO, effective immediately.
Twitter announced the news Monday, with the company’s board unanimously approving of Agrawal as Dorsey’s replacement. Dorsey will remain on Twitter’s board of directors through his current term, which runs into 2022. Once his term ends, Dorsey told staff in an email (with the subject line “Fly”) that he will leave the company entirely. Current board member Bret Taylor will become the company’s chairman.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter 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,” said Dorsey in a statement.
“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,” Dorsey added in the email to staff Monday.
In an email to staff of his own shortly after Dorsey’s, Agrawal wrote that “I’ve walked in your shoes. I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and the obstacles, the wins and the mistakes. But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us.”
Dorsey, who is also the CEO of the global payments company Square, will continue to lead the financial firm even as he steps away from his duties at Twitter.
This is actually the second time that Dorsey is stepping down as CEO of Twitter.
Dorsey co-founded Twitter in 2006 along side Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and was the social media company’s first CEO. He would shift to a chairman position on the company’s board in 2008, and returned to the CEO role in 2015 following the departure of then-CEO Dick Costolo.
Under his leadership Twitter forged close relationships with many of the entertainment giants, including exclusive programming and live coverage, as well as ad sales partnerships around events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. But he was also a controversial leader, not only for his occasionally esoteric commentary, but also for what was sometimes viewed as a slow pace of development at the tech giant, at least compared to some of its perceived peers.
More recently the company has stepped up the pace of development, launching a subscription service, Twitter Blue, the audio service Twitter Spaces, and other products. Agrawal has been viewed internally as a driving force behind those product pushes.
“The world is watching us right now, even more than they ever have before.” Agrawal observed in his Monday email. “Lots of people are going to have lots of different views and opinions about today’s news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters.”
Dorsey also made the call to ban former president Donald Trump from the platform following the riot at the Capitol in January, though he added that “this moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet.”
Known for his casual and laid back style and futurism-laden commentary on his vision for the world, Dorsey in more recent years has shifted his focus to cryptocurrency, and specifically Bitcoin. Dorsey told analysts over the summer that the cryptocurrency will become “hugely important” for the company adding that he was “focusing on the use case of the internet having a native currency, and Bitcoin is the best candidate for that role. If the Internet has a native currency, a global currency, we are able to move so much faster.”
Dorsey would go on to sell his first tweet, “just setting up my twttr” as an NFT, raising nearly $3 million for charity in doing so.
Still, that focus on crypto, which has obvious implications for his other company, Square, also saw Twitter go through some rocky patches. In its last quarterly earnings report, the company missed its Wall Street expectations on revenue and earnings per share, and swung to a loss due to a lawsuit.
Twitter stock rose by more than 10 percent in the minutes after CNBC’s David Faber first reported that Dorsey was expected to step down.
“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course,” Dorsey wrote in his email, which he shared on his Twitter account. “I love this service and this company… and all of you so much. I’m really sad, yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level, and there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”
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