By Kate Conger and Lauren Hirsch
New York Times
Jack Dorsey stepped down on Monday as chief executive of Twitter, the social media site he co-founded in 2006 and guided through the tumultuous years of the Trump administration and increasing calls for regulation from lawmakers around the world.
He was replaced by Parag Agrawal, the company’s current chief technology officer who has recently been working on technologies associated with cryptocurrencies, which have become a fascination of the tech industry’s power brokers, including Dorsey.
Dorsey’s exit marks a significant shift at the company, which has navigated years of pressure from investors who thought it did not make enough money and criticism from Washington, particularly Republican lawmakers who complained Twitter has helped stifle conservative voices in social media.
The most prominent of those voices was that of former President Donald Trump, who used his Twitter feed to threaten enemies and keep his allies in line. Twitter banned Trump shortly after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Dorsey, 45, who is also the chief executive of the payments company Square, was fired from the top job at Twitter in 2008 but returned in 2015. Dorsey’s plans were first reported by CNBC. A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment beyond the announcement.
Dorsey said in an email to Twitter employees that he wanted Twitter to stop being a founder-led company, which could be a weakness over time.
“I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders,” Dorsey wrote. “I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.”
Dorsey’s leadership and focus had been questioned by employees and investors for some time. His departure comes a year and a half after he survived an attempted ouster from the activist investor Elliott Management.
Chief among Elliott’s concerns was that Dorsey’s attention was divided between the two companies he led. The firm believed that Twitter had fallen behind social media rivals in increasing its stock price and adding innovative new products.
Dorsey, who will remain on Twitter’s board until its next election in 2022, stressed that he had made the decision to leave and had not been forced to go.
Agrawal is a low-profile figure who started his career at Twitter over a decade ago, as an engineer. He worked his way up through the company and was made its chief technology officer in 2017.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.