Jack Dorsey will be taking a break from walking the 8.5 kilometres to Twitter HQ every day as he officially steps down as CEO, appointing Parag Agrawal to fill the big shoes.
After almost 16 years in the role, Dorsey resigned to make way for his tech venture to flourish under a new vision that isn’t “founder-led”.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders … now is the right time,” Dorsey shared in a company wide email. “The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag.
“He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.”
So who exactly is Agrawal?
Starting his Twitter career as a software engineer in 2011, Agrawal quickly became CTO in 2017. There he was responsible for the company’s technical strategy, advancing machine learning across the business. His next big jump was to CEO, effective immediately at the end of November 2021.
The 37-year-old grew up in India where he completed a Bachelor’s Degree at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Computer Science and Engineering before going on to earn a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University.
“There is no limit to what we can do together.” – Parag Agrawal
Prior to joining Twitter, the father of one worked in research at a number of tech companies including Microsoft and Yahoo!.
Already behind “every critical decision that helped turn this company around” – including positively impacting the acceleration of audience growth in 2016 and 2017 – Dorsey believes Agrawal is exactly what the company needs to succeed.
“He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble,” Dorsey wrote. “He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.”
Having worked his way up from engineer to the top job, the journey acts as inspiration for other young innovators. In fact, when he landed his first role at Twitter a decade ago, Agrawal shared the moment on Instagram with a simple, yet appropriately relevant, caption: “Looks like I might enjoy this job”.
“I joined this company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees,” Agrawal shared in a company letter. “While it was a decade ago, those days feel like yesterday to me.”
During his time at the tech conglomerate, Dorsey has been one of Agrawal’s closest mentors – an attribute the new CEO will likely pay forward to the next generation of leaders.
“I’m honoured and humbled. And I’m grateful for your continued mentorship and your friendship,” Agrawal wrote in a note to the company. “I’m grateful for the service that you built, the culture, the soul, and purpose you fostered among us, and for leading the company through really significant challenges.
“Team, most of all, I’m grateful for all of you, and it’s you who inspire confidence in our future together. I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes.
“But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us.”
And when he’s not working in Silicon Valley, he’s just like us – spending his time dreaming about food, travel, tennis and skiing.
Since the news of the new CEO broke, Twitter’s valuation has jumped to more than US$4 billion with stocks reportedly jumping as much as 11 per cent.
“The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before,” Agrawal said. “I recognise that some of you know me well, some just a little, and some not at all. Let’s consider ourselves at the beginning – the first step towards our future.
“There is no limit to what we can do together.”