Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal will replace Jack Dorsey as CEO

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, India, November 12, 2018.

Anushree Fadnavis | Reuters

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is stepping down as chief of the social media company, effective immediately. Parag Agrawal, the company’s chief technology officer, will take over the helm, the company said Monday.

Twitter shares were up more than 3% on the news.

Dorsey, 45, was serving as both the CEO of Twitter and Square, his digital payments company. Dorsey will remain a member of the Board until his term expires at the 2022 meeting of stockholders, the company said. Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor will become the Chairman of the Board, replacing Patrick Pichette, a former Google executive, who will remain on the board as chair of the Audit committee.

“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said in a statement, though he didn’t provide any additional detail on why he decided to resign.

Agrawal will have to meet Twitter’s aggressive internal goals. The company said earlier this year it aims to have 315 million monetizable daily active users by the end of 2023 and to at least double its annual revenue in that year.

Agrawal, who’s served as CTO since 2017, has been with Twitter for more than a decade. He had been in charge of strategy involving artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Prior to joining Twitter, Agrawal held research internships at AT&T, Microsoft and Yahoo. While at Twitter, he led projects to make tweets in users’ timelines more relevant to them using AI.

Agrawal was previously tasked with finding a leader for Project Bluesky, a research project Twitter announced to establish open and decentralized standards for social media platforms.

Dorsey said in the email he posted to Twitter that Agrawal has been his choice to lead the company “for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.”

Dorsey faced an ousting last year when Twitter stakeholder Elliott Management had sought to replace him. Elliott Management founder and billionaire investor Paul Singer had wondered whether Dorsey should run both of the public companies, calling for him to step down as CEO of one of them, before the investment firm reached a deal with the company’s management.

Dorsey, who co-founded the social media giant in 2006, served as CEO until 2008 before being pushed out of the role. He returned to Twitter as boss in 2015 after former CEO Dick Costolo stepped down.

Shares have jumped 85% since Dorsey took over as CEO Oct 5. 2015. Meantime, Square shares have surged 1,566% since its Nov. 19, 2015 initial public offering.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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