Tech and Gadgets

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal fires two top executives, freezes hiring

Twitter is shaking up its top leadership. The first move came as consumer product leader Kayvon Beykpour announced on Twitter that current CEO Parag Agrawal “asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction.”

Bruce Falck, the general manager of revenue and head of product for its business side, confirmed in a (now deleted) tweet that he was also fired by Agrawal.

In an unexpected turn, on Thursday evening Parag Agrawal himself responded to both threads, thanking the men he’d fired and expressing admiration for their work.

Now Jay Sullivan, who we spoke to in March about Twitter’s plans to add 100 million daily users, will take over as both the head of product and interim head of revenue. These moves are occurring at the same time Elon Musk moves forward with his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, although he hasn’t taken ownership of the company yet.

In a memo to employees obtained by The Verge, Agrawal wrote, “At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, the decision was made to invest aggressively to deliver big growth in audience and revenue, and as a company we did not hit intermediate milestones that enable confidence in these goals.”

Twitter spokesperson Adrian Zamora confirmed the changes, saying in a statement to The Verge, “We can confirm that Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck are leaving Twitter. Jay Sullivan is the new GM of Bluebird and interim GM of Goldbird. Effective this week, we are pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles. We are pulling back on non-labor costs to ensure we are being responsible and efficient.”

As its product leader and, most recently, GM of consumer, Beykpour has led the development of many of its biggest features and design changes over the last several years. It’s a surprising change: Agrawal just reorganized his executive team a few months ago with the exit of Twitter’s design and engineering leads, leaving Beykpour at the top of consumer products.

Beykpour has been at Twitter since 2015 after it acquired Periscope, the livestreaming company he co-founded. As Twitter folded Periscope’s livestreaming features into its main app, Beykpour shifted into the larger company, becoming its head of consumer product in 2018 and overseeing an unusually productive period of feature launches in the years that followed. Periscope was finally shut down last year.

In a thread of his own, Bruce Falck thanked the engineers he’d worked with and said, “When all is said and done, it’s the work that matters: We upgraded our ad serving, prediction, analytics, attribution, billing, API, and many more systems, substantially improving our reliability and scalability.”

While Falck’s work is less visible to users than Beykpour’s, he’s popped up in the news about Twitter’s changes in how it serves advertising and reports that it would look into subscriptions to reduce its reliance on ad revenue. It’s also worth mentioning that Casey Newton reported that Falck’s backyard hosted a casual meeting between Beykpour and Instagram head Adam Mosseri that was part of the process of Instagram finally supporting image previews for its links on Twitter.

Update May 12th, 1:55PM ET: Added details from the memo obtained by The Verge and statements from Twitter PR.

Update May 12th, 8:37PM ET: Added tweets from Parag Agrawal.

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