By MICHELLE CHAPMAN
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will step down as CEO of the social media platform, the company announced. He will be succeeded by Twitter’s current Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal.
Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires in 2022.
Agrawal has been CTO since 2017 and at Twitter since 2011.
In a letter posted on his Twitter account, Dorsey said he was “really sad…yet really happy” about leaving the company and that it was his decision.
Dorsey has faced several distractions as CEO, starting with the fact that he’s also founder and CEO of the payments company Square. Critics have long complained that the arrangement has divided his attention to Twitter’s detriment.
Twitter shares rose 5% to $49.47 in morning trading after the announcement.
Dorsey became Twitter CEO in 2007, but was forced out the next year. He returned to the role in 2015. In his good-bye letter, he said that he has “worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders” and that to focus too much on whether companies are led by their founders is “severely limiting.”
While Twitter has high-profile users like politicians and celebrities and is a favorite of journalists, its user base lags far behind old rivals like Facebook and YouTube and newer ones like TikTok. It has just over 200 million daily active users, a common industry metric.
Twitter also announced on Monday a new board chairman, Bret Taylor, to replace its existing chair, Patrick Pichette. Pichette will remain on the board. Taylor has been on Twitter’s board since 2016 and is the president and COO of business software company Salesforce.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
Shares of Twitter are surging on a report that co-founder Jack Dorsey will step down as the company’s chief executive.
Twitter’s stock, which has consistently underperformed the market, jumped more than 10% at the opening bell Monday before trading was halted pending news.
CNBC first reported that Dorsey may step down soon, citing anonymous sources.
Twitter Inc. did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press early Monday. On Sunday, Dorsey sent the tweet “I love Twitter.”
Dorsey is also the top executive at Square, a financial payments company that he founded, and some big investors have openly questioned whether he can be effective leading both.
Last year, the company came to an agreement with two of those activist investors that kept Dorsey in the top job and gave a seat on the company board to Elliott Management Corp., which owned about 4% of Twitter’s stock, and another to Silver Lake.
Twitter was caught up in the heated political atmosphere leading up to the 2020 election. Former President Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, with Dorsey defending the move, saying the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and 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 for alleged censorship.
The early days of Twitter began with a tweet sent by Dorsey on March 21, 2006, that read “just setting up my twttr.” Twitter went through a period of robust growth during its start, but as the growth slowed the San Francisco company began tweaking its format in a bid to make it easier and more engaging to use.