WASHINGTON: Yet another major global tech company will be headed by an executive of Indian-origin. Parag Agrawal, an IIT Bombay alumnus and chief technology officer of Twitter will take over as CEO of the social media platform immediately following the departure of its co-founder CEO Jack Dorsey.
Dorsey himself confirmed the transition after hours of raging speculation that he was being ousted by the Twitter board. “I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders….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,” he said in a message to Twitter staff.
“Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep,” he added.
not sure anyone has heard but,I resigned from Twitter https://t.co/G5tUkSSxkl— jack⚡️ (@jack) 1638200924000
Agrawal, who graduated from IIT Mumbai before earning a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University, has worked in Microsoft, Yahoo, and AT&T labs before joining Twitter in 2011.
Deep gratitude for @jack and our entire team, and so much excitement for the future. Here’s the note I sent to the… https://t.co/1OzUfLC5KY— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) 1638201579000
With his elevation as CEO, more than half dozen global tech majors now have Indian-Americans at the helm, including Google’s Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, IBM’s Arving Krishna, and Adobe Shantanu Narayen.
Dorsey heartily endorsed Agrawal in a farewell message to Twitter staff which also explained his exit.
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being “founder-led.” Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders,” he explained.
“Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!). This alone makes me proud. I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes,” Dorsey said.
A college drop-out who co-founded Twitter in 2005, Dorsey remained controversial during his two stints as CEO, including in India where he ran into trouble during a 2018 visit when he held up a placard showing a woman holding a sign that read “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” angering some Indian activists who accused him of inciting hatred against the community.
Twitter India said the poster was handed to Dorsey by a Dalit activist when it hosted a closed-door discussion with a group of women and it was a “tangible reflection of our company’s efforts to see, hear, and understand all sides of important public conversations that happen on our service around the world.”
The company later apologised through Vijaya Gadde the company’s legal head who was also in the mix to head Twitter after Dorsey’s exit, who said the poster “is not reflective of our views.”
“We should have been more thoughtful. Twitter strives to be an impartial platform for all. We failed to do that here & we must do better to serve our customers in India,” she explained.
The social media platform attracts ire from all quarters and all comers — from left liberals who believes it often folds to pressure from authoritarian governments and leaders and from the conservatives on the right who believe liberals have a run of the platform while they are being censored.
Speculation about Dorsey’s exit or ouster had raged for months amid reports of differences with other board members. In his farewell message, Dorsey said “Parag is CEO starting today” while disclosing that he (Dorsey) was going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret (the new Board chair) with the 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 concluded.