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IIT Bombay graduate Parag Agrawal is Twitter’s new CEO

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Jack Dorsey, the maverick behind making Twitter the world’s go-to social platform to rant, laud, troll, or play simple catch up, is moving on.

Confirming long-standing speculation that he would, Dorsey tweeted from his handle: “not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter” and attached a one-page statement of why and who.

In the statement, he named Indian-origin Parag Agrawal as the new CEO, with immediate effect.

Indian American Agrawal attended Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) and is a graduate of IIT Mumbai, he also has a PhD from Stanford and has 14 years of experience at Twitter

“He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs,” Dorsey wrote of Agrawal. “Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble.”

Dorsey, 45, was serving as both the CEO of Twitter and Square, his digital payments company. He will remain a member of the Board until his term expires at the 2022 meeting of stockholders.

Dorsey’s statement attacked the concept of “founder-led”. The construct sets companies up for failure, he said.

“I’ve decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders,” Dorsey said.

“Deep gratitude for @jack and our entire team, and so much excitement for the future,” Agrawal said in a quote-tweet of Dorsey, with a short acceptance note attached, a #oneteam tag and a heart emoji in blue.

Agrawal, CTO since 2017, isn’t in for an easy time. Twitter’s stated goal of monetisation for one – 315 million monetisable daily active users by the end of 2023 and doubling of annual revenue. Agrawal’s specialisation has been strategy involving artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Before studying computer science at IIT, he attended the Atomic Energy Kendriya Vidyalaya. While he was a student at Stanford, Agrawal worked as a research intern for Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AT&T Labs.

After graduating from Stanford, he joined Twitter as an ads engineer. He served in that position from October 2011 to October 2017.

His early work as CTO was dedicated to increasing the relevance of tweets in Twitter timelines through the use of artificial intelligence.

With Parag Agrawal, corporate India continues its tradition of being the ‘training ground for worldwide CEOs‘. He joins some 16 other heads of organisations who have originated from India, trained in the nation’s leading educational institutions.

Meanwhile, Australia is finally coming to the party too, but only gradually. Three Indian-origin CEOs in this country, featured on the cover of AFR’ s BOSS magazine, had caused quite a stir in community circles.

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