Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal has a clear message: Expect the social network to evolve much faster than in the past.
In his first public appearance since taking the reins of Twitter from co-founder Jack Dorsey, Agrawal said his top priority was to “improve our execution” and streamline how Twitter works. His comments, made at the Barclays tech conference, come after activist investor Elliott Management rocked the Twitter board last year and pressured Dorsey to step down as CEO part time. Dorsey remains the CEO of Block (formerly Square).
Despite only being CEO of Twitter for nine days, Agrawal has already made some big changes to his senior ranks. He reorganized the business last Friday under the key pillars of Consumer, Revenue and Core Tech, with a general manager leading each division. “I think we set them up so that they can go really fast,” he says now. As part of the change, two executives who previously reported to Dorsey – head of engineering Michael Montano and Dantley Davis, head of design and research – plan to leave in late December.
“We used to operate in a functional structure where we had a single engineering organization, a single design research organization, and product teams built into it,” Agrawal explains, implying that the setup slowed down the business. . Along with the three new CEOs, who are Kayvon Beykpour, Bruce Falck and Nick Caldwell, Lindsey Iannucci has been appointed Vice President of Operations. “It will help us improve our operational rigor in this new structure to really lead us to faster decision making, clearer ownership, increased accountability, improved operations, which will translate into faster overall execution and better results, ”according to Agrawal.
His emphasis on speed was a recurring theme throughout the roughly 30-minute interview. He explained how, in his previous role as CTO, he focused on rebuilding the company’s old tech stack so products could be shipped faster. He admitted that there had been “the slowness of decision making due to the coordination required” between the teams to achieve changes. His comments amounted to a direct acknowledgment that Twitter had failed to meet investor expectations since its IPO, and that the company had been slow to respond to changes in user behavior over the years.
Asked about Twitter’s acquisition of the just-announced Quill messaging app, Agrawal called direct messages a “key product bet” – a refreshing feeling given that DMs have been woefully underdeveloped. since a long time. “The opportunity around DMs is really essential,” he said, adding that “it’s a way to connect with anyone in the world and hope to hear from them. “