As Parag Agrawal becomes Chief Executive Officer of Twitter Inc, is turning towards choosing a low-profile technologist to direct a social network that has failed the market, tentatively introduced new products and struggled to keep harmful content under a leader long criticized for divided attention.
Agrawal who is 37, was announced on Monday to advance co-founder Jack Dorsey after a period of 4-years of time as CTO, a position he managed Twitter’s pursuit of block chain and other decentralized technologies. Through the summer, Dorsey will remain on the board and will stay at the helm of Square Inc., he also co-founded the payments company.
Agrawal is still sort of unknown who has spent no time in the limelight at the controversial social media company, while Dorsey is a billionaire celebrity with tons of famous friends and millions of followers. Whereas Dorsey’s personal interests are music and Bitcoin, he often showed up in his posts and eventually made their way onto the company’s product, but recently he has fallen short of growing his business since he took over for his second period as CEO in 2015.
Twitter’s new CEO will get its political rumpus, including the hatred and criticism over its ban on former President Donald Trump as well as abrasion with India’s ruling party. He will have to chase hostile goals to step up user growth, double up the income and speed up product performance.
“What’s going to be his North Star that he puts out there to kind of bet the farm — or at least his career — on?” said Mark Shmulik, an equity research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “And then how successful will he be at delivering against that?”
Agrawal is the youngest man to run a company in the S&P 500. Before his move to Twitter, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the IIT which is Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and doctorate degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.
He has worked as a researcher for Microsoft Corp., Yahoo! Inc. and AT&T Corp., according to his LinkedIn profile. He joined Twitter in 2011 as an engineer at a time when the company had fewer than 1,000 employees. In that role, he worked on boosting audience growth and revenue and was named Twitter’s first distinguished engineer, the company said. After being named CTO in 2017, he led the company’s technical strategy including overseeing advancements in machine learning, according to Twitter’s website.
Now Agrawal takes over a company that has been slow to roll out new products and features for years, but has started to move faster, make more acquisitions and push into areas that might expand the business, like live audio and subscriptions.