Parag Agarwal: The New CEO of Twitter
By Khalidha Naushad
“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 his heart and soul and is someone I learnt from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep,” in his farewell message, the outgoing CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey wrote. Going by trending searches,
almost everyone including me can’t get enough of the new CEO and has been furiously googling what Twitter was up to. The social media world went into a frenzy on Monday, 29 November, when the CEO and Founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey announced that he would be stepping down from his role at the media company.
This farewell message hyped even more when the new CEO of Twitter was introduced as Parag Agarwal. He is a 37-year-old, Indian, who first joined Twitter as an Engineer in 2011. The Internet has become obsessed with the amazing talent of Parag Agarwal who was able to change his destiny from just a Twitter Engineer to become a CEO of the million-dollar Company in just 10 years. Parag is the youngest CEO, among the S&P 500, edging out Mark Zuckerberg. Let us see what Parag brings to the table.
Who is Parag Agarwal?
Parag Agarwal isn’t the most well-known of names whether inside or outside Twitter. Agarwal is the fourth person to take the reins at Twitter, after Dorsey (who led the Company from 2006 to 2008, and again from 2015 till his resignation), Evan Williams (who co-founded Twitter alongside Dorsey and served as CEO from 2008 to 2010), and Dick Costolo (Twitter’s former COO, who served as CEO from 2010 through 2015).
Agarwal pursued a Doctorate from Stanford University after completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He interned with Microsoft, Yahoo, and AT&T Labs. Parag joined Twitter as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) only a decade ago. On 29 November, he was appointed as the CEO of Twitter after Jack Dorsey’s ‘surprise’ resignation.
It took only six years for Agarwal to reach the C-suite as CTO. Agarwal proudly made a name for himself by advancing the use of AI and machine-learning technology at Twitter, which eventually helped boost the Company’s audience growth. “I joined this company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees...” Agarwal, who now oversees a workforce of more than 5,500 employees, wrote in an email to his employees posted on Twitter on 29 November. “I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes.” He brags a name of ‘Twitters first distinguished Engineer,’ the Company stated.
Twitter insiders say Agarwal is a close confidant of Dorsey who shares the co-founder’s vision of a future in which Twitter runs on technology that gives users greater control. They’re both enthusiasts of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, which they expect to play key roles in Twitter’s future. Agarwal has been involved in related projects at Twitter, according to
npr.org. He’s been working on enabling users to send tips using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and hired the Head of a new crypto team, recently. He also oversees the Company’s Bluesky project, which aims to build decentralised social networking software on which any number of platforms could run. On the plus side, Agarwal’s appointment means Twitter
will have a full-time CEO for the first time in years. Dorsey’s position as leader of Square was one of Elliott’s main criticisms of the social network. Upon his appointment as the CEO, Agarwal sent a message to fellow Twitter employees, alluding to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Why did Jack Dorsey resign?
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 lead Twitter in 2015 after former CEO Dick Costolo stepped down.”I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the Company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep,” Dorsey, who is also CEO of payments company Square, said in a statement on 29 November. As maraca.com reports, from now on, Dorsey will aim his efforts at today’s largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, a path he had foreseen with bundled statements in years past. Dorsey has been serving as both the CEO of Twitter and Square, a ‘digital payments’ Company.
In which case, many users believe the appointment of Parag will be advantageous as he will serve Twitter as a full-time CEO. On the other hand, Dorsey will undoubtedly have more time to devote to Square and his personal bet on cryptocurrencies, referring at the time to Bitcoin as ‘a foundational internet technology that is not controlled or influenced by any single individual or entity.’ According to Forbes.com, though Twitter stock initially skyrocketed to 12.5 per cent in pre-market trading
after CNBC first reported Dorsey’s resignation, shares of Twitter were still up to five per cent on 29 November after Twitter confirmed the report, paring losses of nearly 14 per cent this year. Dorsey has experienced substantial turbulence over the past few years at the Company he co-founded, Forbes reports. Last year, Twitter stakeholder Elliott Management attempted to oust him from the Executive Suite over the platform’s slow growth.
Dorsey has also faced backlash over his hesitancy to censor users, especially controversial public figures like former President Donald Trump. Twitter took steps to manage the spread of misinformation on the platform last year—particularly regarding the presidential election and the coronavirus pandemic—and early this year permanently banned Trump from Twitter. As per ‘Hindustan Times’, Jack Dorsey said the ambition and potential of Twitter employees also prompted him to say goodbye to the leadership role.