Twitter’s ‘Part-Time’ Boss Steps Down But New CEO Pick Appears To Underwhelm Investors

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“Such has been the consternation surrounding Jack Dorsey’s ‘part-time’ role as CEO Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), that it’s little surprise investors initially reacted positively to speculation that he was leaving the platform. But the initial euphoria fizzled out, as the new pick for the driving seat, Parag Agrawal, the current chief technology officer, appeared to underwhelm investors. Shares had surged 11% in the pre-market session and lifted 4.5% as trading resumed, before falling back and dropping into the red.

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Parag Agrawal As Twitter's New CEO

Of course, it’s not the first time that Jack Dorsey has been and gone from the platform, and shareholders at first appeared confident that a successor will at the very least have more focus and fewer distractions.  As well as juggling the role of CEO of the payments company Square Inc (NYSE:SQ), which has a $97 billion valuation, Dorsey has been an active cheerleader for crypto assets, with his tweets helping fuel bitcoin rallies, and he has also toyed with taking a career break in Africa.  Quite what he will concentrate his high energy on next isn’t clear, but it is likely that Parag Agrawal will at least bring a calmer sense of direction to the platform. He does still face a huge challenge to meet expectations given the ambitious goal the company has set itself to double annual revenue by 2023. The realisation of the mountain to scale and some disappointment that a Twitter outsider hasn’t been brought in to offer fresh ideas, is likely to be behind the loss of initial gains.

The launch of Twitter Blue, a subscription version of the site, which offers ad-free scrolling is part of the plan to achieve revenue growth, but it’s still unclear whether enough users in this often fractious arena will be willing to part with around $3 a month for a ‘with frills’ service.  Given the big task ahead, it’s likely that there may be a fresh period of volatility for Twitter, as Dorsey spreads his wings, while Agrawal assumes position on the CEO perch."

Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown

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