CEO search delay underscores woes at Twitter

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SAN FRANCISCO: In the fast-moving world of Silicon Valley, Twitter’s search for a new chief executive is moving at a snail’s pace, raising concerns about deeper woes at the social media platform.

The San Francisco messaging platform has been searching for a new leader since Dick Costolo announced on June 12 he was stepping down, with co-founder Jack Dorsey holding the job on an interim basis since July 1.

The unusually long search has some investors and analysts worried over the future of Twitter, which has failed to ignite the kind of growth that many had anticipated when it launched its public offering in 2013.

“It’s very disconcerting for the company to not know who’s going to be the CEO,” said Lou Kerner, partner at the venture capital firm FlightVC and founder of the Social Internet Fund.


“It’s hard to retain and attract great talent if they don’t know who they’re going to be working for. Every day that ticks by, it’s a big loss for the company.”

Over the past three months, several reports had suggested that a decision was imminent, but Twitter itself has remained mum on the subject.

The wait has created frustration for some investors.

One Twitter stakeholder, Silicon Valley venture investor Chris Sacca, has on two occasions launched “tweetstorms” to voice support for making Dorsey the permanent CEO.

“Enough is enough. The board needs to act. They are running a ‘process’ yet there is only one person fit to run this company: @jack,” Sacca tweeted on September 11.

“He has the full support of the key players at Twitter and its largest investors.”

While Dorsey would appear to be a natural choice, it is unclear if he is willing to step down from his other startup, Square, or manage to lead both companies simultaneously as the online payments firm readies its initial public offering (IPO).

List of candidates
A long list of potential CEO candidates has surfaced in media reports: Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, AOL chief Tim Armstrong, Intel president Renee James and several Google executives.

Inside the company, one frequently mentioned name is Adam Bain, who is overseeing Twitter’s effort at monetization including advertising. Another is its finance chief Anthony Noto, whose Goldman Sachs background could reassure Wall Street.

Rob Enderle, a consultant and analyst at Enderle Group, said Twitter’s needs are highly specialized, making the search complicated.

AFP

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