Twitter CEO race: Bain in lead over Dorsey amidst management exodus

29 Jul 2015

Twitter's interim CEO Jack Dorsey has to make a tough decision: go Twitter or go Square.

Unless Twitter co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey is willing to relinquish the reins of Square to focus solely on Twitter, the growing consensus is that Twitter’s sales chief Adam Bain is a shoe-in for the job.

“Who’s going to be the next CEO of Twitter?” was the question that flashed constantly on Twitter during the social media company’s earnings call last night. And no one got a satisfactory answer as the executive search led by Jim Citrin following the departure of Dick Costolo seemingly continues.

Dorsey has his hands full with both Twitter and Square. Twitter last night beat forecasts by announcing Q2 revenues of US$502m. Twitter’s advertising revenue rose 63pc year-over-year to US$45m, with mobile ad sales making up 88pc of that total.

Square, meanwhile, is going from strength to strength and at the weekend reports surfaced indicating that Square is quietly preparing for an IPO.

Bain meanwhile is being credited with Twitter’s continued sales growth in the last five years and is seen as a steady hand whose focus on turning Twitter into a billion-dollar player is unswerving.

So clearly it’s decision time for Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter just nine years ago with Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass.

Musical chairs at Twitter

There is something of a musical chairs game going on at Twitter. The departure of Costolo surprised many people, despite widespread acknowledgement that, despite his achievements and vision, Costolo came in for a lot of criticism — deserved and undeserved.

In recent weeks, senior executive positions have been reshuffled and it emerged during last night’s earnings call that two major figures are leaving the company.

Head of product management Todd Jackson is leaving Twitter for Dropbox where he will be the company’s first VP of product.

And Twitter’s head of growth Christian Oestlien is leaving the company for YouTube.

As the search for a CEO for Twitter continues, it is clear it steams on in full throttle, but a permanent decision about who steers the ship is required.

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