Twitter’s new CEO dumps head of engineering and chief design officer as restructures the company

Twitter’s new woke CEO has dumped the head of engineering and chief design officer as he restructures the company following Jack Dorsey’s resignation.

Parag Agrawal, who took over as the $11 billion company on Monday, announced that he would be making some major changes to Twitter’s team to streamline company operations and accelerate growth.

As a result of his changes, the head of engineering Michael Montano and chief design officer Dantley Davis have stepped down from their lead roles and will leave the company on December 31, 2021, according to the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing reporting the move.

Agrawal’s company-wide email explained how he wanted to bring together employees who are divided by their job functions and corresponding teams, according to The Washington Post, which exclusively obtained the email.

Agrawal told his staff in his email that he will focus on ‘clear decision-making, increased accountability and faster execution,’ starting with ‘making a number of organizational and leadership changes to best position us to achieve our goals,’ as reported by The Post. 

Twitter’s head of engineering Michael Montano (left) and chief design officer Dantley Davis (right) have stepped down from their positions as a direct result of the company’s new woke CEO Parag Agrawal’s restructuring

As of Monday, Parag Agrawal (pictured) has been promoted from his four-year-long role as Twitter’s chief technology officer to the $11billion company’s CEO – a move that was effective immediately after co-founder Jack Dorsey, 45, stepped down via email, which he later tweeted

Agrawal’s changes, which will be effective as of December 31, 2021, were outlined in a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing (pictured)

Former CEO and co-founder Dorsey was reportedly criticized by investors for moving too slow on money-making developments but insisted that he wasn’t pushed out in a resignation letter he tweeted the day he stepped down. 

Before the shake-up, for example, engineers, designers and product developers were organized on teams such as consumer product, revenue and research.  

‘We’ve all discussed the need for more operational rigor and it must start from the top,’ he added.  

Agrawal’s predecessor was considered a hands-off leader but his resignation still came as a surprise on Monday when he appointed 37-year-old Agrawal, who was serving as Twitter’s chief technology officer, the new CEO.

He also noted that Agrawal’s appointment was ‘unanimous,’ after ‘the board ran a rigorous process considering all options.’

‘My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep,’ Dorsey said. Before signing off, he was sure to note that his ‘one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world.’ 

Agrawal seems to be getting right to it and Twitter spokesman Liz Kelley confirmed that the changes to the organizational shift were Agrawal’s decision, which is the only reason Montano and Davis’ chose to leave the company, according to The Post.

They both tweeted the news of their resignation Friday afternoon.

‘An unbelievable ride. So much gratitude,’ Montano wrote. Moments later Davis said: ‘I love Twitter and the people here! I’m honored to have been part of the journey.’

Montano headed engineering at Twitter since 2011, as stated on his LinkedIn profile. He also founded BackType, a marketing intelligence company, which was acquired by Twitter when he joined the social media giant’s team a decade ago. 

Meanwhile, Davis’ career at Twitter began in 2019. According to his LinkedIn page, he previously was the design director at Netflix before heading product design at Facebook.

Davis was the first Black executive at Twitter to report directly to the CEO and was appointed to detoxify the platform, according to The Post.

According to The Post, the reshuffling will consolidate previously-separate functions under three new divisions: Consumer, revenue and core tech, which will be headed by Kayvon Beykpour, Bruce Falck and Nick Caldwell, respectively.

As stated in the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the three men will now take on the titles of ‘General Manager.’

Beykpour, who was speculated to be Dorsey’s successor, is married to Twitter’s senior product management director Sara Beykpour, who announced Friday that she will leave the company at the end of the year before her husband steps into his new position.

Sara will be replaced by Dalana Brand, Twitter’s vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity. 

Kelley said of the move: ‘As the company grows, Parag sees this as a way to bring clarity and cohesion across Twitter.’

She cited Twitter Spaces – the social media site’s live audio and chat – as a feature that could benefit from a collaboration between engineers, designers and product managers, as reported by The Post.

Beykpour, in his previous role as head of consumer product, led the launch of Twitter Spaces in November 2020. He also ushered the shutdown of Twitter Fleets in August of this year, which allowed users to post photos, videos and plain text that disappear after 24 hours. 

Agrawal was a Twitter veteran himself before stepping into the role of CEO. He joined the company in 2011 and was the mastermind behind several of the social media site’s upgrades while Dorsey headed the brand.

Co-founder Dorsey – who became Twitter’s first CEO in 2007 – looked to the India-born engineer as his confidant in making major decisions and developing the company’s infrastructure. 

After climbing the ranks at Twitter, Agrawal earned himself a net worth of $1.52 million. With this promotion, he will receive an annual salary of $1million, plus bonuses, as well as restricted and performance-based stock unit bonuses valued at $12.5 million, according to a company report filed Monday.

Agrawal lives in San Francisco, California, with his wife Vineeta and two-year-old son Ansh, who even has a Twitter account of his own under the username @littleansh

Agrawal shares Dorsey’s vision to one day completely decentralize the platform, or let users have more control over data ownership, which would also allow for greater ease in connecting buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency.

In a decentralized market, investors in cryptocurrency would be able to deal directly with each other instead of operating through a third party governing service, such as Twitter. 

As the new CEO, Agrawal will also be expected to make calls on matters relating to free speech. His moves will be closely watched by Twitter users. His predecessor faced fierce backlash over controversies such as banning former president Donald Trump from the platform and locking the Indian National Congress’s account. 

When speaking on the topic of balancing the First Amendment with misinformation spread on the site during a 2020 interview with MIT Technology Review, Agrawal said: ‘Our role is to serve a healthy public conversation and our moves are reflective of things that we believe lead to a healthier public conversation.’ 

He also emphasized during the interview that his role is not about deciding what’s true and false but instead fostering robust debates.

The father-of-one kicked off his career at Twitter on the engineering team, where he was key in developing targeted ads, which skyrocketed Twitter’s revenue, and quickly became Dorsey’s lieutenant, The New York Times reported.

In 2014, Agrawal was counted on to build the social media site’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities and again in 2019, when he was a key player in developing blockchain technologies.

Despite masterminding many of Twitter’s key moves, Agrawal managed to maintain a low profile. He had just 24,000 views before getting appointed to CEO, at which point the figure grew to nearly 300,000.

However, his follower count is still a way’s away from Dorsey’s 5.9million.

In 2019, he oversaw Twitter’s moderation project, known as Bluesky, which allows users to make their own moderation decisions and apply their own algorithms to promote content, according to The New York Times.

‘A lot of people want to be part of the solution and now the only way is for them to figure out how to work at Twitter or figure out how to have their community prioritized by a company like ours. That’s some of the thinking and reasoning behind algorithmic choice,’ Agrawal added.

Agrawal’s Twitter bio (above) already boasts his new job title and in a public email responding to Dorsey’s resignation, the new CEO reminisced on his decade-long career at the company and wrote: ‘I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes’

Given Agrawal’s track record throughout his decade-long career at Twitter, Dorsey wrote in his resignation email Monday: ‘Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around.’

Dorsey’s handing over of the CEO title to Agrawal also suggests that the new leader will be faster at making decisions and implementing change, something Dorsey has been long been criticized for by Twitter’s investors.

Meanwhile, Agrawal has consistently ushered product developments, making him an appealing candidate when it came time for Dorsey to step down.

A person familiar with the succession process told The Times that insiders were critical of Twitter’s slow growth, especially when compared to competitors such as Facebook, and hope that Agrawal’s appointment could foster faster improvement.

There were also concerns about Dorsey’s time being divided between Twitter and payments company Square Inc, which he remains the CEO of. Both are multimillion-dollar companies.

Some Twitter users were surprised by Agrawal’s promotion and others were concerned that the former CTO’s relationship with Dorsey meant that the co-founder wasn’t actually leaving the company for good.

Dorsey also announced that he is going to serve on the board throughout the remainder of his term, which ends ‘May-ish,’ to help Parag in his 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,’ Dorsey added in his resignation email.

He also noted that Agrawal’s appointment was ‘unanimous,’ after ‘the board ran a rigorous process considering all options’.

As the new CEO, Agrawal will now have incredibly tough targets to meet, after Twitter announced earlier this year that it aims to double its annual revenue by 2023 and increase monetizable daily active users to 315million.

‘My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep,’ Dorsey said. Before signing off, he was sure to note that his ‘one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world.’

Yet despite the niceties in his letter on Monday, Dorsey also insisted that he was not pushed out of the company. The 45-year-old explained he had ‘worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders’ before patting himself on the back by noting that ‘there aren’t many founders that choose their company over ego’.

Dorsey was appointed Twitter’s first CEO in 2007 – a year after he co-founded the social media site. More than 20 years later he stepped down as CEO and announced that Agrawal will take over his position. ‘My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep,’ Dorsey wrote

But it wouldn’t be the first time Dorsey was axed from a leadership position at Twitter. He was booted in 2008 amid claims he kept leaving work early to enjoy other pursuits like yoga and fashion design, and chose improvements to the site over revenue.

In March 2011, Dorsey was named executive chairman and later return when new CEO Dick Costolo announced his resignation in June 2015.

He will now remain on Twitter’s board of directors through his current term, which runs through 2022, but will step aside as chairman, with current board member Bret Taylor set to assume those responsibilities. Once his term ends, Dorsey told staff, he will leave the company entirely.

However, like his predecessor, new CEO Agrawal seems focused on cryptocurrencies and wants Twitter to become increasingly decentralized, according to The Times.

He previously led a change where Twitter allowed users to send tips in cryptocurrency form, such as Bitcoin.

The Stanford University graduate was described by Dorsey as ‘curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble,’ while Kevin Quennesson, who oversaw Twitter’s machine learning efforts when Agrawal was promoted to CTO in 2017, told The Times that he would call the new executive ‘pragmatic’.

‘As one of the early engineers, he built strong internal relationships over the last decade,’ Quennesson added.

According to Agrawal’s LinkedIn profile, he worked on research teams for AT&T, Microsoft and Yahoo! before accepting a position at Twitter.

The Indian immigrant now lives in San Francisco, California, with his wife Vineeta and two-year-old son Ansh, who even has a Twitter account of his own under the username @littleansh.

In a tweet on Monday replying to Dorsey’s resignation, Agrawal addressed his team as he reminisced about when he ‘joined the company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees’.

‘I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes,’ he wrote, adding: ‘I recognize that some of you know me well, some just as little, and some not at all. Let’s consider ourselves at the beginning.’

Immediately after assuming the position, Agrawal was slammed by Republicans on the app, citing the CEO’s past tweets where he boasted that Twitter is ‘not bound by the First Amendment’. 

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