Twitter’s New CEO Hints at Big Changes to Speed up Product Releases

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  • Parag Agrawal in December replaced Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey as CEO.
  • Agrawal has already changed how the company manages its people and rolls out product.
  • With ambitious growth targets set by an activist investor, he’s looking for even more speed.

Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agrawal is focused on speed, having seen how the platform has been dragged down by slow execution on new product.

“I’ve been here over a decade… there is a notion that we’ve just not moved fast enough and I’ve seen the things that slow us down,” Agrawal said during Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media and Telecom conference. “There is an urgency to improve execution.”

When he late last year took over the CEO role from cofounder Jack Dorsey, a change pushed for by an activist investor and secretly finalized a year earlier, Agrawal had already been at work increasing Twitter’s pace of product rollout. Since September, the platform has released seven new features. It released three in the whole of 2020.

Agrawal said his first order of business was restructuring the way Twitter’s employees were managed. Within his first ten days as CEO, he did away with the company’s functional management model, wherein groups of workers were siloed and reported to one executive or head. Now, groups have three general managers in charge of people, product and budget. That resulted in a number of promotions and some departures. Nick Caldwell was promoted to general manager of core tech, for instance, a Twitter employee said. Leah Kissner was promoted to CIO, while former heads of security were let go, as the New York Times reported.

“There’s now clarity on who is accountable for what and it’s enabled us to execute faster,” Agrawal said.

Still, things aren’t moving fast enough for him. Agrawal is facing at ambitious goals for the end of 2023, set in part by activist investor Elliott Management, including growing users to 315 million and doubling revenue to $7.5 billion.

“I’m glad the pace is improving,” Agrawal said, “but I think we can be moving even faster and learning more every time we ship something.”

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