Jack Dorsey is out of his post as Twitter’s chief executive for the second time in his career — tDorsey, who co-founded the company, offered no specific reasons for his resignation Monday beyond an abstract argument that Twitter, where he’s spent 16 years in various roles, should “break away from its founding and founders.” Dependence on company founders, he wrote, is “severely limiting.”
Dorsey was the social platform’s first CEO in 2007 until he was forced out the following year, then returned to the role in 2015. He is known for his relaxed demeanor, for his sometimes massive beard that’s the subject of several parody Twitter accounts and for Silicon Valley eccentricities that include dabbling in silent retreats, intermittent fasting, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
He leaves Twitter at a crossroads. The service changed American politics, journalism and culture.
He will be succeeded by Twitter’s current chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, a choice Wall Street analysts seemed to welcome, seeing him as a safe choice who will usher the company into what’s widely seen as the internet’s next era — the metaverse. Investors were less sure, sending Twitter’s stock 3% lower.
”But it also, it turns out, had a darker side and has been exploited for years by people who want to harass other people and spread falsehoods about other individuals, about groups of individuals, about the state of democracy,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director at the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.
He will remain on the board until his term expires in 2022. Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 and has been CTO since 2017. Dorsey expressed confidence in Agrawal and new board Chairman Bret Taylor, who is president and chief operating officer of the business software company Salesforce.
Twitter was caught up in the heated political atmosphere leading up to the 2020 election, particularly when it banned former President Donald Trump following his incitement of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Dorsey defended the move, saying Trump’s tweets after the event resulted in a risk to public safety and created an “extraordinary and untenable circumstance” for the company.
Trump sued the company, along with Facebook and YouTube, in July, alleging censorship.
Critics argued that Twitter took too long to address hate speech, harassment and other harmful activity on its platform, particularly during the presidential campaign.