Here's Why Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo Quits

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jun 12, 2015


His exit was inevitable. But not so soon. So, when Twitter had ‘tweeted’ that CEO Dick Costolo will step down after serving the company for some five years, it came as a surprise not only to the tech community, but also to his own employees. He will be replaced by co-founder Jack Dorsey on an interim basis. Costolo, who will step down on July 1, will continue to serve on the board, the company said in a regulatory filing. He has been a director since September 2009 and became CEO in October 2010. 

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is stepping down, after facing tremendous pressure from investors, who were frustrated by its sluggish growth of the micro-blogging site for the past several quarters. Twitter has 300 million monthly active users, which is sizable but is dwarfed by Facebook, which has 1.4 billion active users. Instagram has over 300 million monthly users. With Snapchat gaining fast on Twitter, it’s not hard to see a world where Twitter is becoming the ‘lesser’ choice for advertisers looking to spend money on social.

Investors were growing impatient with Costolo, which they believed quickened his departure. however, he did have a good job in his time as CEO. Costolo took a company with no revenue, valued at 1 billion dollars, and helped steer it to billions in revenue, a $24 billion valuation, and a successful IPO, said a Business Insider report. 

Costolo has always had a reputation for being a likable manager. He’s a fun person — a former comedian — and some people took that humor for a lack of seriousness, but people tended to respect him, said Re/Code. As Dorsey himself said, “The future belongs to Twitter thanks in large part to Dick Costolo’s dedication and vision. “Dick has put a world-class team in place and created a great foundation from which Twitter can continue to change the world and grow.”

However, Twitter has been criticized in the past for moving too slowly or too tentatively when it comes to evolving the product. Some believe that part of the issue is that, as a non-founder CEO, Costolo lacked some of the moral authority needed to make major changes to the Twitter product. Bringing a founder back to run the company might help Twitter push some of those ideas forward with more confidence.

A hiring committee made up of Twitter board members will look for a replacement CEO, but there’s no timetable for that hire, according to the news site.

Read more: Who Could Replace Twitter CEO Dick Costolo?

In a statement the 50-year old Costolo, 51 quoted as saying: “I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the Company.

“We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities. There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition.

Twitter has long struggled to gain users at the rate of other social media companies, such as Facebook Inc Instagram and Snapchat. Data firm eMarketer projects that Twitter’s monthly user base will grow at 14.1 percent this year, compared to more than 30 percent two years ago. 

There were always speculations on who would replace Costolo. Names such as Adam Bain, Kevin Wein and Antony Nato have been mentioned as prospective CEO candidates internally. There are several names for a new Twitter CEO, from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer to Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom.

Twitter co-founders Biz Stone, Evan Williams can also be good potential candidates, he said, though all three are currently engaged in other projects.

It’s still unclear whether Costolo would hang around for some more time, he is replaced with an internal peer or the company opts for an external pro. However, in the present situation as Twitter is into, the company needs to act quick, and sensible!