Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will step down as head of the social media platform he co-founded a decade and a half ago, the company announced on Monday.
Board member and former Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal was appointed CEO, effective immediately, and Dorsey will remain a member of the board until his term expires at next year’s stockholders’ meeting, the company said.
“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said in a statement released by Twitter. “My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead.”
Dorsey warned of potential pitfalls of a company founder staying on for too long.
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led,'” Dorsey said. “Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure.”
He added: “And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”
CNBC was the first to report Dorsey’s departure on Monday.
Dorsey remains CEO of Square, his digital payments company. Dorsey is the only person to be CEO of two public companies with market valuations of greater than $5 billion.
In his statement, Dorsey didn’t mention Square or investor pressure previously brought on him to pick one of the executive posts.
“I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it,” Dorsey said. “It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company.“
Dorsey’s exit ends a five-year run atop the social media company, during which time he helped boost its users and oversaw the implementation of a variety of new features meant to expand its reach and crack down on issues like abuse and misinformation.
In 2020, investment firm Elliott Management launched a campaign to remove Dorsey as CEO of Twitter.
Elliott Management on Monday offered its vote of confidence in this move, with Agrawal becoming CEO and Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor coming in to become Twitter’s chairman of the board.
Taylor will succeed Patrick Pichette, a former Google executive, who will remain on the board as chairman of the audit committee.
“Twitter is the leading global medium for real-time conversation and engagement, and our collaboration with Jack and the company for the past two years has been productive and effective,” according to joint statement from Elliott Management Managing Partner Jesse Cohn and Senior Portfolio Manager Marc Steinberg.
“Twitter is now executing against an ambitious multi-year plan to dramatically increase the company’s reach and value, and we look forward to the next chapter of Twitter’s story. Having gotten to know both incoming Chairman Bret Taylor and incoming CEO Parag Agrawal, we are confident that they are the right leaders for Twitter at this pivotal moment for the company.”
In February, Twitter announced in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it aimed to have 315 million monetizable daily active users by the end of 2023 and to at least double its annual revenue in that year.
Twitter had 192 million monetizable daily active users and $3.7 billion in annual revenue at the end of 2020, according to the company’s last quarter earnings report.
Despite being a 10-year employee with one of the highest positions within Twitter, Monday’s announcement would be Agrawal’s introduction to many people.
He promised to follow through on the company’s big plans.
“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” he said in statement. “But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results — that’s how we’ll make Twitter the best it can be for our customers, shareholders, and for each of you.”