Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down, CTO Parag Agrawal tapped to replace him

·Technology Editor

Twitter’s (TWTR) Jack Dorsey is stepping down as CEO, the company announced Monday. CTO Parag Agrawal will replace him as CEO of Twitter, which Dorsey co-founded 15 years ago.

"I've decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders," said Dorsey, who has faced criticism for serving as CEO of both Twitter and payments platform Square (SQ).

"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," Dorsey added.

In an email to staff, which he also tweeted, Dorsey said that having a founder as CEO of a company can be "severely limiting and a single point of failure." Agrawal, Dorsey added, has also been "behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around."

Dorsey's tenure at Twitter was marked by signifiant ups and downs. Revenue growth over the last three full fiscal years has been steady, but shows signs of slowing, with the year-over-year increases sliding from 25% in 2018 to 7% in 2020.

The company, along with Facebook, has also been at the epicenter of controversies in recent years, including the spread of disinformation and misinformation, as well as hate speech and abusive posts from users.

Dorsey has appeared before Congress on multiple occasions to answer for the company's issues with those topics, and has pledged to make changes to the social network to address them.

Of course, Dorsey also had to contend with former-President Donald Trump using the platform as his de facto mouthpiece throughout his presidency. Twitter was also among the first companies to block Trump's disinformation and other inflammatory tweets. He's been banned from the service since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Dorsey has faced calls for his resignation in the past. Big Tech critic and NYU professor Scott Galloway has said the company should fire Dorsey for serving as CEO of both Twitter and Square. Elliott Management also called on Twitter to axe Dorsey in 2020 over his role as dual CEO. In 2019, Dorsey raised concerns among investors for making plans to move to Africa for several months.

This was Dorsey's second stint as CEO of Twitter. The first stint ended when he was ousted in 2008 and replaced by his co-founder, Evan Williams. Dorsey, however, returned to the top spot in 2015 and has remained there ever since.

Dorsey will stay on as a member of the company's board until his term expires in 2022. Agrawal has been CTO of Twitter since 2017.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies during a remote video hearing held by subcommittees of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee on
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testifies during a remote video hearing on March 25, 2021. Source: U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee/Handout via Reuters

"I want to thank the Board for their confidence in my leadership and Jack for his continued mentorship, support, and partnership," Agrawal said in a statement. 

"I look forward to building on everything we have accomplished under Jack's leadership and I am incredibly energized by the opportunities ahead. By continuing to improve our execution, we will deliver tremendous value for our customers and shareholders as we reshape the future of public conversation."

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