This week began with an announcement that rocked the social media world. Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), shared he was stepping down from his position as CEO. Parag Agrawal, who held the position of CTO at Twitter since 2017, will take his spot. Agrawal’s experience at the company spans more than a decade.
Dorsey stated this morning that he was resigning because he believed that the company was “ready to move on from its founders.” While this news was not unexpected, it nonetheless sent TWTR stock into a frenzy as the New York Stock Exchange issued a trading halt. This decision was short lived, lasting only until 11:00 a.m. Eastern. As of this writing, shares are down 1.5% for the day and show no immediate signs of rebounding.
Who is this figure taking the helm of one of the biggest names in social media? Let’s take an in-depth look at Parag Agrawal.
Social Media’s Newest Leader: What to Know About Parag Agrawal
- Agrawal first joined Twitter’s team in 2011. According to his LinkedIn profile, he began as a distinguished software engineer before his promotion to CTO in October 2017.
- After completing his undergraduate work at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Agrawal earned a Ph.D. from Stanford University. Both his degrees are in computer science, though his undergraduate also included a focus in engineering.
- During his time at Stanford, Agrawal served on the research team at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), returning to the company three years later. He also served on the research teams at Yahoo and AT&T (NYSE:T).
- In a letter sent to the company, Dorsey noted that Agrawal was his first choice for the role, stating that his successor had “been behind every critical decision” that helped to turn Twitter around. Dorsey also said that Agrawal understood the needs of the company.
- Dorsey has also noted that his decision not to stay on as part of Twitter’s board after his tenure expires in spring 2022 stems from the fact that he wants to give the new CEO the space he needs to lead. Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) President and COO Bret Taylor will chair the board.
- In his previous years at Twitter, much of Agrawal’s work centered around the company’s technical strategy. He has also been recognized for his work using artificial intelligence “to increase the relevance of tweets on Twitter timelines.” His work spanned company teams operating in the consumer, revenue and science spaces.
- Agrawal’s interest also include web3 technology. In his recent years at Twitter, he was been one of the leaders of the company’s Bluesky effort in its mission to create an “open and decentralized standard for social media.” A noted Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) supporter, Dorsey discussed plans to build a decentralized exchange platform for the cryptocurrency last August, which would operate as a division of Square (NYSE:SQ), the digital payment company where he still holds the position of CEO.
- While it’s unclear what the new CEO’s plans are for Twitter’s future regarding web3 and DeFi technology, it is clear that Parag Agrawal is well positioned to lead the company toward a future where both are of paramount importance to the tech sector.
On the date of publication, Samuel O’Brient did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.