Jack Dorsey said Monday he will step down as Twitter CEO after 16 years at the social media company. He will be replaced by current CTO, Parag Agrawal.
Dorsey’s departure was first reported by CNBC. The news sent Twitter stock to jump more than 10 percent in pre-market sessions before trading was halted on some exchanges due to an official announcement pending.
A source told Reuters that Twitter’s board has been preparing for Dorsey’s departure since last year.
“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,” Dorsey said in an email to all Twitter employees on Monday. He tweeted a screenshot of the full email about an hour after sending it internally with the intention for “Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world,” he said.
Dorsey’s last tweet before the resignation letter was, “I love Twitter,” which he posted early Sunday morning, hinting at news to come.
Dorsey, 45, serves as CEO of two public companies: Twitter and the digital payment company Square. His dual role has been called into question by some of Twitter’s large shareholders, notably the hedge fund Elliott Management.
Last year, Elliott’s founder Paul Singer launched a shareholder campaign seeking to oust Dorsey as CEO. Twitter’s management eventually reached a deal with Elliott by giving the firm and its ally, private equity firm Silver Lake Partners, three seats on Twitter’s board on the condition that Dorsey remained as CEO.
“Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!)” Dorsey said in his resignation letter. “I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes.”
In the same letter, Dorsey announced that Salesforce President Bret Taylor will take over as Twitter’s chairman, replacing Patrick Pichette, a former Google executive, who will remain on the board as chair of the Audit committee.