Parag Agrawal becomes a chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. Parag Agrawal, 37, was named on Monday to succeed the co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey after a four-year stint as CTO, which is a role where he oversaw Twitter’s pursuit of blockchain and other decentralized technologies. Jack Dorsey, 45, will remain on the board throughout the summer and will stay at the helm of Square Inc., a payments company also co-founded by him.
Dorsey is a well-known billionaire celebrity with famous friends and millions of Twitter followers, on the other hand, Agrawal is still a relatively unknown person who has not even grabbed any limelight at the controversial social media company. Dorsey’s interests, like music and Bitcoin, were often mentioned by him in his posts, and also made their way onto the company’s product road map, but Dorsey has fallen short of transforming the business as he took over for his second stint as CEO in 2015.
The company’s new CEO will inherit Twitter’s political scuffles, which include criticism over its ban on former President Donald Trump as well as problems with India’s ruling party and Agarwal has to chase aggressive goals to step up user growth, double revenue, and expedite product execution.
Agrawal becomes the youngest person to run a company in the S&P 500, as per the data compiled by Bloomberg. 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.
According to his LinkedIn profile, He has worked as a researcher for Microsoft Corp., Yahoo! Inc., and AT&T Corp. He joined Twitter in 2011 as an engineer at a time when the company had fewer than 1,000 employees, and in that role, he worked to boost audience growth and revenue and was named Twitter’s first distinguished engineer, the company said. After becoming a CTO in 2017, he led the company’s technical strategy which includes overseeing advancements in machine learning, according to Twitter’s website.
On the plus side, Agrawal’s appointment means Twitter will have a full-time CEO for the first time in years. On Monday, Agrawal posted a message to other Twitter employees, alluding to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of him.
“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” Agrawal wrote. “But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter be the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.”
Twitter shareholders will be looking to Agrawal to chart a steadier course on building up the company’s revenue and engagement metrics. While Twitter’s user base has been expanding for some years, the company has failed to match the growth of stock returns of peers like Snapchat parent Snap Inc. and Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc. While twitter stock has climbed 62% since Dorsey’s return in 2015, and annual revenue is up 68% from the 2015 level, Meta’s stock has gained 260% growth too, and sales have more than quadrupled.
Rivals’ investments in augmented and virtual reality-powered devices and services could pressurise Twitter to innovate more boldly. Meta recently changed its name to focus on immersive digital worlds known as the metaverse, thus many big tech companies are behind the next transformational computing platform.
Agrawal won’t just need to keep growing Twitter’s business. The company also remains at the center of several political issues, such as how to moderate speech on the internet, and has been a prime target for conservative politicians.
Twitter has been criticized by politicians around the world over how it chooses to manage misinformation, hate speech, and other forms of objectionable content on its social network, which has 211 million daily users. It’s become the go-to social media platform, the place where politicians turn to trade barbs, where CEOs announce new products and users talk about the latest events.
Agrawal is pursuing a crash course on what it’s like to be a high-profile CEO. Just after he was announced as Dorsey’s successor, the Twitter users went on a 2010 tweet of his, quoting a Daily Show joke about how treating all Muslims as terrorists were analogous to treating all White people as racists.
Dorsey will stay on the board of San Francisco-based Twitter until his period expires in 2022, the company said. As Agrawal is also joining the board, director Bret Taylor, who is a chief operating officer of software maker Salesforce.com Inc., was named independent chairman.
Agrawal, as CEO he will be required to forge new relationships with the press, regulators, and even with his employees.
“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before,” Agrawal wrote Monday. “It’s because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters.”