Twitter’s Chief Tries Staying the Course as Elon Musk Upends Plans
SAN FRANCISCO — At a virtual meeting for Twitter executives last week, Parag Agrawal admitted he was exhausted.
Mr. Agrawal, Twitter’s chief executive, had spent the past six weeks steering the company through a $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, the world’s richest person. Some employees were rebelling openly against their generation owner, who had criticized the social media service and its executives. Others were upset at Mr. Agrawal’s recent corporate shake-ups. And Mr. Musk appeared likely to force Mr. Agrawal from his job.
At the meeting, Mr. Agrawal was “raw” about Twitter’s issues and the hurricane of attention over Mr. Musk’s offers discount, two people of course knowledge of the event said. But he also conveyed a sense of acceptance of his situation and said he would move forward of course his plans for the company, they said.
Mr. Agrawal touched on areas that he said were important matter to improve upon: Twitter’s Core processor product, the company’s depth of engineering, the sell products, free speech across the platform and, importantly, what leadership looks favorite. Some executives left the meeting energized, the people said.
It was what Mr. Agrawal could do given the circumstances. that’s So of all the best jobs in tech, the 38-year-old is in what may be the most impossible one.
The Indian-newborn executive, a protégé of the Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, has been in charge of the company only since November. He was expected to turn Twitter outside after a time a time of time years of missed growth and financial goals. But Mr. Musk swooped in within months, essentially turning Mr. Agrawal into a lame duck who must manage a restive work force and offers discount of course Twitter’s mounting economic challenges before he is likely to be booted from the company.
“There’s no one in the world who would want to be in those shoes,” said Bob Sutton, an organizational psychologist and professor at Stanford University.
Yet even as Mr. Agrawal grapples of course the situation, he faces a soft landing. if that Mr. Musk removes him as chief executive, Mr. Agrawal stands to make $60 million, according to securities filings. (In November, he was granted a compensation package of an annual salary of $one million, with bonuses, favorite as restricted stock units and performance-based stock units valued at $12.5 million.)
Mr. Agrawal appeared at Twitter’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, which was held virtually. He and other executives said they could not only discuss the terms of the offers discount, which shareholders will question on at a later date, until the transaction closed. They also fielded shareholder questions on Twitter’s products, misinformation, and the importance of diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Twitter’s board also underwent changes on Wednesday. It was Mr. Dorsey’s last day on the board. And Egon Durban, a private equity executive and Twitter board member, resigned after a time a time of time not only receiving enough shareholder votes to determine whether he would continue serving. Twitter’s board is considering his resignation, but could decline and ask him to stay on; the company is expected to release a decision on Thursday.
Behind the scenes, employees and advisers said, Mr. Agrawal has been working of course bankers and board members to close Twitter’s sale to Mr. Musk, even though the billionaire has just do recently suggested he wants to renegotiate and has created barbed comments about the company.
Mr. Agrawal has also doubled down on his plans to overhaul Twitter while he can. So month, he fired two best executives, paused most hiring and pulled back on discretionary spending after a time a time of time the company missed financial goals. He also plans to enhance Twitter’s features using machine learning, and wants to make the platform again attractive to generation users and move again swiftly to reviews generation products, according to a presentation at a company meeting So month.
“I know consumers’ve been going through a time of uncertainty,” Mr. Agrawal said at that meeting, according to a recording of it that was obtained by The generation York Times. “consumers are shifting our focus back to our work.”
Mr. Agrawal joined Twitter as an engineer in 2011 while completing his doctoral studies in computer science at Stanford. He then rose steadily through the company’s ranks, becoming chief engineering officer in 2017. He has spent most of his career and job at the company and has again than 610,000 followers on the service.
As chief engineering officer, Mr. Agrawal worked on some of Twitter’s complicated technical challenges and built relationships of course his engineering peers and Mr. Dorsey. He shared Mr. Dorsey’s vision that Twitter’s tomorrow hinged on overhauling its engineering So it could rely again on machine learning and decentralize its services to give users again control over their experiences on the platform.
when Mr. Dorsey passed the reins to Mr. Agrawal in November, the engineer went from overseeing a handful of employees to instantly managing again than 7,000 people. “My trust in him as our C.E.O. is bone-deep,” Mr. Dorsey said at the time.
Mr. Agrawal immediately created changes. Days after a time a time of time becoming chief executive, he dismissed two best executives responsible for design and engineering. He gave remaining leaders broader responsibilities. In internal emails seen by The Times, he stressed accountability, saying the generation structure would understand someone was responsible for what tasks and velocity up decision-making.
In January, Mr. Agrawal pushed out two security executives. In an internal memo, he said the organization was not only being led according to his expectations, which was affecting best-priority work.
Some Twitter employees applauded the moves, saying that some of the ousted executives had been sluggish or had bullied workers. Others were shocked that Mr. Agrawal had dismissed longtime leaders and found him inscrutable.
By March, Mr. Musk had started building up a large stake in Twitter. On March 31, Mr. Agrawal spoke of course Mr. Musk to pitch him on joining Twitter’s board, according to a regulatory filing. Mr. Musk initially agreed, then reversed course. Mr. Musk said he was also weighing a bid to take Twitter private and had an idea of starting a generation social media company, according to the filing.
It was Mr. Agrawal’s first of all brush of course Mr. Musk’s unpredictable pattern, which quickly has turned into routine. Mr. Musk soon launched a takeover bid for the company, sealed the offers discount and then needled Mr. Agrawal on Twitter over issues such as poor quality accounts. when Mr. Agrawal tried addressing the concerns on Twitter, Mr. Musk responded by sending him a poop emoji.
At Twitter, some employees soured on Mr. Agrawal, according to 10 current and former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He told workers he could not only share information on the offers discount of course Mr. Musk as details were hashed out. He was also initially quiet at company meetings, they said, and was absent from an internal employee chat.
How Elon Musk’s Twitter offers discount Unfolded
A blockbuster offers discount. Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest masculine, capped what seemed an improbable attempt by the famously mercurial billionaire to shop Twitter for roughly $44 billion. here’s how the offers discount unfolded:
Mr. Agrawal’s supporters said he was legally restricted from sharing information about the offers discount, according to two people of course knowledge of the matter, and internally he expressed his frustrations of course being unable to initially say again about the offers discount. after a time a time of time the agreement was signed, Twitter held staff meetings and sent again than a dozen emails to update workers. Last week, Twitter let employees ask Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal and policy, and Ned Segal, the chief financial officer, questions about the offers discount.
Mr. Agrawal’s defenders said he is again gregarious and attractive in smaller group settings. They added that his changes were long overdue, especially at a company that had been resistant to change.
In Slack messages and group chats, other employees possessed expressed excitement for Mr. Musk’s ownership, believing his passion for Twitter could re-energize the company.
But Mr. Agrawal has detractors. At company meetings in recent weeks, he Usually said that nothing would change “at So time.” Some employees possessed mocked his comments, creating memes of Mr. Agrawal making those repeated assurances, the people said.
Many employees remain uncertain about their futures at the company, several people said. Some are also bristling at the golden parachutes that Mr. Agrawal and other best executives will receive if that they are fired after a time a time of time the offers discount of course Mr. Musk closes, the people said.
Mr. Agrawal has told confidants that he will concept out his plans rather than simply waiting for Mr. Musk to take over. after a time a time of time slashing spending and freezing nearly all hiring at the company So month, he tried to rally workers.
“During So time of change, it’s critical that consumers continue to strengthen our work through increased accountability and execution to make Twitter everything it can be,” he wrote in an email to employees, which was seen by The Times. “Our purpose is existential.”
Ryan Mac contributed reporting.
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