Indian-origin technology executive Parag Agrawal has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Twitter after Jack Dorsey stepped down from the position after 16 years.
Parag was announced the CEO after the social media giant’s co-founder Jack Dorsey shared details of himself leaving the microblogging platform and paving the way for a Mumbai-born technology executive.
With his elevation, Parag also joined the growing list of Indian-Americans to lead top technology companies in the US.
Dorsey announced his resignation through a Twitter post and said the Twitter board of directors ran a rigorous process to look for a successor and “unanimously” appointed Agrawal who will also be appointed to Twitter’s board.
In an email sent to all Twitter employees, Jack Dorsey wrote: “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?”
“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. 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. 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.”
“The second is Bret Taylor agreeing to become our board chair. I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way. 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. Having Bret in this leadership role gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!”
“The third is all of you. 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. 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. 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.”
“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. 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. 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.”
“PS I’m tweeting this email. My one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world.”
Agrawal is the youngest person to run a company in the S&P 500, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Prior to his move to Twitter, Agrawal earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University.
He has worked as a researcher for Microsoft Corp., Yahoo! Inc. and AT&T Corp., according to his LinkedIn profile.
He joined Twitter in 2011 as an engineer at a time when the company had fewer than 1,000 employees. In that role, he worked on boosting audience growth and revenue and was named Twitter’s first distinguished engineer, the company said. After being named CTO in 2017, he led the company’s technical strategy including overseeing advancements in machine learning, according to Twitter’s website.