Twitter Announces CEO Change

Twitter-ceo-standing-ovation-dick-costolo-1434109488Twitter CEO Dick Costolo will step down but remain on the board of directors. Costolo has been CEO since October 2010 and saw the company through an IPO, but performance has not met expectations. One of Twitters big investors wrote a long essay about how to improve the company. The stock was up between 7 and 8 percent in after-hours trading when the news broke.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder (with Evan Williams) and board chair, will serve as interim CEO while a search committee finds replacement. Twitter hired a PR firm to help manage the transition. 

In a press release, the company quoted Costolo:

"I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the Company. We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities. There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition. He has a profound understanding of the product and Twitter's mission in the world as well as a great relationship with Twitter's leadership team. I am deeply appreciative of the confidence the Board, the management team and the employees have placed in me over the years, and I look forward to supporting Twitter however I can going forward."

According to TechCrunch, employees were fond of Costolo: 

"Internally, sources say many employees loved Costolo. He brought order to Twitter when it was still in its chaotic adolescence, and turned it into a serious business. Whoever comes next will have to transition Twitter from something for news junkies and public figures to a service the average person can love." 

Costolo got a standing ovation when he announced the news to staff.

Image source

Discussion Starters: 

  • If you were the project lead from the PR firm hired to help Twitter with the transition, what would you advise the management team? Consider the company's constituencies, message strategy, and media choice. 
  • What are the challenges for an incoming CEO, particularly following someone "loved" by employees?