Twitter’s Jack Dorsey has surprised industry watchers with the news he is stepping down from the CEO role of the company he co-founded.
This is now the second time that Dorsey, aged 45, has vacated the CEO position, and he will be replaced by Twitter’s chief technology officer (CTO) Parag Agrawal.
Dorsey posted on his Twitter account his resignation letter, entitled “not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter,” that he emailed to all of Twitter’s staff before he stepped down.
“After almost 16 years of having a role at our company…..from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO…I decided it’s finally time for me to leave. Why?,” Dorsey wrote.
“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. “I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.”
“The first is Parag becoming our CEO,” he wrote. “The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. 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,” wrote Dorsey. “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.”
Secondly, Dorsey then mentioned that Bret Taylor had agreed to become Twitter’s board chair.
“The third is all of you,” wrote Dorsey. “We have a lot of ambition and potential on this team. Consider this: Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!).”
“This alone makes me proud. I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes,” Dorsey wrote. “All of you have the potential to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!”
“Parag is CEO starting today. I’m going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that…I’ll leave the board,” Dorsey stated. “Why not stay or become chair? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.”
And Dorsey insisted this was his decision, and had not been forced to do this after pressure from activist hareholders.
“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it,” said Dorsey. “It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and 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.”
“We’ll have an all-hands meeting tomorrow at 9:05 AM Pacific to discuss it all,” he concluded. “Until then, thank you all for the trust you’ve placed in me, and for the openness to build that trust in Parag and yourselves. I love you all.”
This is now the second time that Dorsey has stepped down from leading Twttier.
Dorsey had co-founded Twitter in 2006, but he had left the micro-blogging platform in 2008 (amid complaints he was too focused on other activities such as Yoga) to set up mobile payments firm Square.
However Dorsey returned to the Twitter fold in 2011 when Dick Costolo took over as CEO of Twitter.
However in recent years Dorsey has faced a great deal of pressure.
His unorthodox management approach (he was CEO of both Twitter and Square) was not helped when Dorsey in November 2019 said he planned to live and work in Africa for part (up to half) of each year.
It is reported that Dorsey spent his mornings at Twitter and afternoons at Square (Twitter and Square’s San Francisco offices are located across the street from each other).
Dorsey made the commitment after finishing a tour of Africa. However Dorsey in March 2020 said he would “reevaluate those plans”.
This drew the ire of activist shareholder group Elliott Management, which pushed for Dorsey’s removal.
But in November 2020 Twitter’s board of directors expressed their support for Dorsey, and recommended that the current unconventional management structure remained in place.
Dorsey has also been under intense pressure from the right wing of the Republican party, for the decision to ban former President Donald Trump completely for his role in inciting a mob of his supporters to storm the US Capitol building on Wednesday 6 January, which resulted in the deaths of five people (including one police officer who was beaten to death).
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