Big social media news: Jack Dorsey stepping down as CEO of Twitter — the social media giant he co-founded in 2006.
Why? In a resignation letter posted on — where else? — Twitter, Dorsey wrote, “There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led.’ Ultimately, I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and failures.”
Dorsey also is the chief executive of the financial and digital payments company Square. The New York Times’ Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch wrote, “His leadership has been questioned by employees and investors who believed that he was unfocused and spent too much of his time on Square and other passion projects. His departure comes a year and a half after Mr. Dorsey survived an attempted ouster from the activist investor Elliott Management. Chief among Elliott’s concerns was that Mr. Dorsey’s attention was divided between the two companies he led. The firm believed that Twitter had fallen behind social media rivals in increasing its stock price and adding innovative new products.”
The Washington Post’s Elizabeth Dwoskin and Rachel Lerman wrote, “Dorsey has been distancing himself from direct leadership for years, according to people familiar with his leadership style who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Major decisions are generally made by other company leaders, though Dorsey does give a final sign off. He also rarely tweets about Twitter, focusing most of his public energy promoting blockchain and bitcoin-related projects.”
In his resignation letter to employees, Dorsey wrote, “I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company … and all of you so much. I’m really sad … yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.”
Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s current chief technology officer, will replace Dorsey as the top executive. In a note to staff, Agrawal said he was “honored and humbled” that Dorsey chose to run the company.
Conger and Hirsch wrote, “Mr. Dorsey’s exit will mark a significant shift at the company, which has navigated years of pressure from investors and increasing criticism from Washington, particularly Republican lawmakers who complain Twitter has contributed to a stifling of conservative voices in social media.”
This story is developing.
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.