On Monday, the world dawned on the news that Jack Dorsey had stepped down as Twitter CEO. Dorsey’s resignation was abrupt because no one saw it coming.
He has now passed the mantle to Parag Agrawal, a software engineer who has become one of Dorsey’s closest allies in shaping the social media company’s future. Dorsey has a lot of trust in the incoming CEO and even mentioned how Agrawal was his preferred choice.
In an email sent to employees, Dorsey wrote, “He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. So who is this guy? Parag Agrawal.
According to twitter insiders, Agrawal is a close confidant of Dorsey who shares the co-founder’s vision of a future in which Twitter runs on technology that gives users greater control. They’re both enthusiasts of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, which they expect to play key roles in Twitter’s future.
The incoming CEO has been closely involved in related projects at Twitter. He has worked on efforts to let users send tips using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and recently hired the head of a new dedicated crypto team.
He also oversees the company’s Bluesky project, which aims to build decentralized social networking software on which any number of platforms could run.
The 37-year-old Agrawal is a computer scientist who studied at the Indian Institute of Technology and Stanford University before joining Twitter a decade ago. He worked on advertising products and the company’s engineering architecture. In 2017, Dorsey named him chief technology officer.
In his own email to Twitter staff, Agrawal noted that when he joined, the company had fewer than 1,000 employees.
“I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes,” he wrote.
He’s worked on machine learning and other technical advances that have enabled Twitter to roll out new features and products more quickly, as it’s tried to shake off a reputation for being slow to innovate.
Agrawal has also championed an internal team of researchers investigating whether Twitter’s algorithms are fair. Recently that team published research that found its automated photo-cropping system favored white faces, and Twitter announced it was abandoning the software.
Twitter now has a new person at the top, let’s see what Agrawal has to offer to the social media company.