Jack Dorsey is stepped down as a chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., handing over control of the microblogging site he founded and helped build into a global communications platform that, despite being widely used, has struggled to keep up with its social media peers.
Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal, who joined Twitter in 2011, was promoted to CEO. Dorsey will stay on the board of the San Francisco-based company until his term expires in 2022, Twitter said in a statement Monday. Agrawal, 37, is also joining the board, and director Bret Taylor was named independent chairman.
“The company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said in the statement. “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.”
Parag Agrawal, an IIT-Bombay and Stanford University alumnus, was the chief technology officer of Twitter before the elevation that caught investors by surprise. The Twitter stock went up by as much as 10% with the news in opening trade. The two most powerful people at Twitter will now be India-born—the other being Vijaya Gadde, its policy, and safety lead director.
Agrawal will join the league of several India-born executives, such as IBM’s Arvind Krishna, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, to lead large US technology companies that have a presence globally.
Agrawal’s appointment signals that Twitter will continue to focus on blockchain and decentralized technologies, which have become a major point of interest for Dorsey. As CTO, Agrawal was the point person inside Twitter as it created Bluesky, which aimed to create a “decentralized standard” for social media, a project Dorsey said was his “biggest focus” during an interview in July. Agrawal, who was named CTO in 2017, has also been involved in Twitter’s crypto and blockchain teams.
Agrawal joined Twitter as an engineer in 2011. He was named the company’s first distinguished engineer for his impact on renewing audience growth in 2016 and 2017, Twitter said in its statement. In 2017, Agrawal was named chief technology officer.
In an email to employees, Agrawal said he is “honored and humbled” to take over as Twitter’s next CEO.
“I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes,” wrote Agrawal. “But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us.”
Agrawal’s annual base salary is $1 million with a $1.5 million target bonus, according to documents Twitter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Monday. He will also be granted restricted stock units with a value of $25 million.