Twitter Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Parag Agrawal has taken over from Jack Dorsey as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the tech giant announced on Monday.
The move came as a surprise as there was no hint that Dorsey was planning to step down. It has since emerged that the Twitter board had been preparing for his exit since last year, Reuters reported.
Who is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO?
An alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, Agrawal became Twitter CTO in March 2018, succeeding Adam Messinger following his departure in December 2016. His appointment was internally announced in October 2017.
Joining Twitter in October 2011 as an ads engineer, Agarwal has also held the title of Distinguished Software Engineer. He did research internships at AT&T, Yahoo, and Microsoft prior to joining Twitter.
Agarwal completed his PhD in computer science from Stanford University in 2011. His early work on using artificial intelligence (AI) to increase the relevance of tweets on timelines has been well recognised.
Agarwal’s appointment as Twitter CEO makes him the latest in a long line of Indian-origin technology chiefs, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google-promoter Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.
In a statement on Twitter, Agarwal wrote: “Team, most of all, I’m grateful for all of you, and it’s you who inspire confidence in our future together.”
“I joined this company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees. While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me. I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes.”
He also highlighted how he wants to run Twitter as CEO: “Our purpose has never been more important. Our people and our culture are unlike anything in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together. We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right. But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results – that’s how we will make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.”
Jack Dorsey’s trust in Parag is ‘bone-deep’
Agarwal also received backing from outgoing CEO Dorsey. In the letter announcing his resignation that the Twitter co-founded tweeted, Dorsey 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. 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.”
Dorsey had been facing calls to resign from his position since early 2020 with hedge fund Elliott Management Corp accusing him of paying little attention to Twitter while running payments processing company Square Inc.
Twitter has also been embroiled in several controversies over the recent past due to its failure to flag fake news and bullying on its platform.
(The story was first published in Financial Express)