Jack Dorsey, the co-founder as well as the public face of Twitter, will be stepping down from his role as CEO and handing it over to Parag Agrawal, effective immediately, as per the company announcements on Monday. Dorsey will, however, remain a member of Twitter’s board until next year.
Parag Agrawal Twitter’s chief technology officer, will be taking over as CEO.
“I have decided to leave Twitter as I believe Twitter is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey’s statement stated on Monday. “My belief in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is great. His work over the past decade has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, as well as his soul. It is his time to lead.”
An internal note, shared on his account, said: “I want everyone to know that it was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one, obviously. I love this service, the company, and all of you so much. I’m really sad … even so really happy. There aren’t many companies that manage to reach this level. There aren’t many founders, who would choose their company over their ego. I know we will prove that this was the right step.”
This departure comes 6 years after Dorsey had returned to the CEO role. Under Dorsey’s leadership, Twitter achieved profitability, posted its first billion-dollar quarter. Twitter had also begun testing and releasing a wide range of features to draw customers. However, Twitter, like its competitors, had to confront the challenge of content moderation along with the growing scrutiny.
While much smaller than rivals, Twitter has been central to the debates over whether, and how much social media platforms should be responsible for curbing hate speech, violent rhetoric, and misinformation on their site. Dorsey has testified several times before Congress amid criticisms of his company’s handling of customer content.
At the beginning of this year, Twitter had permanently banned a sitting US president from the service following the insurrection at the US Capitol. Under Dorsey, Twitter had struggled to design and enforce a complex set of policies as well as rules, including world leaders.
Dorsey was navigating the challenges while dividing his time as CEO between Twitter as well as Square. The payment company he cofounded. This summer, Dorsey had suggested that he might be willing to leave Twitter as well as Square to go work on bitcoin-related initiatives.
Last year, Dorsey had faced an investor challenge from activist hedge fund Elliott Management pushing for changes, including his possible replacement. Dorsey managed to survive.
These reports regarding Dorsey’s looming departure come 15 years after Twitter’s launch. Dorsey had marked the moment with Twitter’s first-ever tweet: “just setting up my twttr.”
Dorsey first became CEO of Twitter in 2007, then was forced out the next year. He then came back as the CEO in 2015.