Twitter CEO Ev Williams steps aside

5 Oct 2010

Sometimes it’s best to quit while you’re ahead and that’s exactly the decision made by Twitter CEO Ev Williams, who will be replaced in the role by current COO Dick Costolo, who has been with the company about a year.

Williams is by no means leaving Twitter, he will stay on to focus on product strategy.

Williams recruited Costolo last year and for the past few months, Costolo has been running the show while Williams focused exclusively on the new Twitter redesign.

“By all accounts, Twitter is on a roll. We’ve redesigned our website to great user feedback,” Williams said in a blog yesterday.

“Our user and usage numbers are growing at a rapid clip all around the world. We’ve launched an early, but successful, monetisation effort. And, many top engineers, product designers, sales people and other key folks have joined our quickly growing team.

“In fact, there are 300 people working at Twitter today — compared to about 20 when I took the CEO job two years ago. Back then, people were creating about 1.25 million tweets a day — compared to 90 million today. In those same two years, we grew from 3 million registered users to more than 165 million today.

“The challenges of growing an organisation so quickly are numerous. Growing big is not success, in itself. Success to us means meeting our potential as a profitable company that can retain its culture and user focus while having a positive impact on the world. This is no small task. I frequently reflect on the type of focus that is required from everyone at Twitter to get us there.

“This led to a realisation as we launched the new Twitter. I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build,” Williams said.

Williams says that Costolo has been a critical leader in devising and executing the social-networking firm’s revenue efforts.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years