Twexodus as four senior leaders at Twitter leave company

25 Jan 2016

Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey

Four senior leaders at Twitter are to leave the troubled social media company, CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed by tweet last night.

Twitter’s head of media Katie Jacobs Stanton, head of product Kevin Weil, the head of engineering Alex Roetter and the head of HR Brian “Skip” Schipper will all leave the company.

It is the biggest leadership change at Twitter since Dorsey returned to the helm of the company he co-founded. Dorsey is also the CEO of payments company Square, which went public late last year.

Dorsey hit out at “inaccurate press rumours” about the departures and said the executives chose to leave the company. “I’m addressing this now: I’m sad to announce that Alex Roetter, Skip Schipper, Katie Stanton and Kevin Weil have chosen to leave the company. Alex and Kevin, both here over five years, scaled the ads product and engineering teams from producing near-zero revenue to the over $2bn run rate it is today.”

He said that Katie Stanton was instrumental in growing the global team, including international offices in Ireland, the UK and Japan.

“All four will be taking some well-deserved time off. I’m personally grateful to each of them for everything they’ve contributed to Twitter and our purpose in the world. They are phenomenal people!”

Twitter CEO reorganises the nest

Dorsey said that, on an interim basis, COO Adam Bain will take on responsibilities over HR and media while CTO Adam Messinger will be taking over all engineering and consumer product, design and research, as well rolling Fabric into one group.

The interim arrangements are going to raise some eyebrows, particularly on Wall Street, where investors are concerned that Dorsey as CEO of two public companies might be stretching himself too thin.

For example, Dorsey said he intends to partner with Messinger “day and night” to make sure Twitter builds the right experiences.

The four departures may only be the tip of the iceberg. According to The New York Times, changes will affect not only the leadership team but also members of the company’s board.

The heart of the problem is Twitter’s inability to attract the numbers of new users that will assuage the concerns of investors. Shares in Twitter have plunged 55pc in the last year.

This is while rivals like Facebook are streaming past 1.5bn monthly users and Facebook’s subsidiaries are also achieving top numbers: WhatsApp is approaching 1bn users while Instagram has already surpassed Twitter with 400 monthly active users.

Statement from Jack Dorsey

Jack Dorsey image at top by Max Morse via Creative Commons/Flickr

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