Twitter will have to find a permanent CEO soon if it wants to win back investors’ trust and keep its business from deteriorating further, believes SunTrust analyst Robert Peck. Over the last month, Twitter shares have declined almost 18%.
A buyout possible
Twitter’s stock has been declining since the company revealed during its earnings call that user growth may take some time to accelerate. In addition, the departure of key employees is also a concern for investors who believe it will be difficult for the micro-blogging firm to grow without a permanent CEO.
On Tuesday in a note to investors, Peck said, “We think investors are questioning the current state of the CEO search and assessing the rumored parameters, wondering if Twitter is looking for a difficult to find CEO candidate or ‘Unicorn CEO.'”
Urging the search committee to move “prudently but quickly,” Peck says that without a permanent CEO, Twitter may face “sustained ‘brain drain’” and “middle management obstruction of decisions.” And if the firm fails to act quick, Peck suggests that an acquisition will be the only viable option. Twitter’s market cap of below $20 billion makes it a potential buyout target.
Peck also suggests another option he calls a “triumvirate of power,” in which revenue head Adam Bain and co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams take more active roles on the board of directors.
Finding a CEO for Twitter is hard
Twitter’s search for a CEO is not yet complete, which is discouraging considering that Dick Costolo made known his intentions to leave the post almost two months ago. Dorsey is currently the interim CEO, but his attention is divided between Twitter and digital payment company Square, the other company of which he is CEO.
Business Insider, citing sources close to the micro-blogging firm, says Dorsey is interested in the full-time CEO role at Twitter, but the company’s board has made it clear that the CEO will have to make a “full time commitment.” As of now, Bain is the board’s top pick for the CEO job, says Business Insider.
Peck acknowledges that finding a CEO for Twitter won’t be an easy task as the job requires many key qualifications, such as being an active user of the service, and he/she must have a good understanding of the product, be an expert in monetization, and be prepared for a turnaround while inspiring employees for that turnaround. Finding all the qualifications in one candidate will be tough, Peck says.