AP — Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will step down as CEO of the social media platform, the company announced. He will be succeeded by Twitter’s current chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal.
Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires in 2022. Agrawal has been CTO since 2017 and at Twitter since 2011.
In a letter posted on his Twitter account, Dorsey said he was “really sad…yet really happy” about leaving the company, and that it was his decision.
Dorsey has faced several distractions as CEO, starting with the fact that he is also founder and CEO of the payments company, Square. Critics have long complained that the arrangement has divided his attention, to Twitter’s detriment.
Twitter shares rose 5 percent, to $49.47, in morning trading after the announcement.
Dorsey became Twitter CEO in 2007, but was forced out the next year. He returned to the role in 2015.
Last year, the company came to an agreement with two activist investors to keep Dorsey in the top job and give a seat on the company board to Elliott Management Corp., which owned about 4% of Twitter’s stock, and another to Silver Lake.
In his goodbye letter, Dorsey wrote that he has “worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders,” and that to focus too much on whether companies are led by their founders is “severely limiting.”
While Twitter has high-profile users like politicians and celebrities, and is a favorite of journalists, its user base lags far behind old rivals like Facebook and YouTube and newer ones like TikTok. It has just over 200 million daily active users, a common industry metric.
Twitter also announced on Monday a new board chairman, Bret Taylor, to replace its existing chair, Patrick Pichette. Pichette will remain on the board. Taylor has been on Twitter’s board since 2016, and is the president and COO of business software company Salesforce.
The early days of Twitter began with a tweet sent by Dorsey on March 21, 2006, that read “just setting up my twttr.” Twitter went through a period of robust growth during its start, but as the growth slowed, the San Francisco company began tweaking its format in a bid to make it easier and more engaging to use.