The microblogging site Twitter has appointed Parag Agrawal as its CTO. An update on the website shows Parag taking charge today in his new role. He will be leading technical strategy for the company and will focus on AI/ML across Twitter’s infrastructure and product teams.
His bio on the website states that he joined Twitter in 2011 as an Ads Engineer, and under him, Twitter’s Ads systems have scaled up. He has also helped build and deploy a platform for online machine learning at Twitter.
Parag is an IIT Bombay alumnus and holds a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Before he joined Twitter, he conducted research in large-scale data management at other major companies such as Yahoo! Research, AT&T Labs, and Microsoft Research.
Parag succeeds Adam Messinger, who was with the company for five years before leaving in December 2016. Around the same time, Josh McFarland, the VP of Product at Twitter, also moved to Greylock Partners. A month before these two moved out in 2016, COO Adam Bain left the company and Anthony Noto took over from him. In the last quarter of 2016, even Adam Sharp, Twitter’s Director of Media Partnerships and its Head of News, Government and Elections, left as well.
Major changes in the top rungs occurred soon after Jack Dorsey took over as full-time CEO again in March 2011. The mass exodus of top executives unnerved the investors, especially since Twitter stock prices fell in the wake of the exodus.
There are multiple views on how Jack has fared as a CEO and where the company is going. Some have called him a great leader, given he has been leading two companies simultaneously, while some think Jack and Twitter haven’t moved fast enough.
However, in an interview to Fortune last year, Jack had said that he would do “whatever it takes” to ensure both tech businesses – Twitter and Square Inc. – are successful.
Growth continues to be a problem for the microblogging site, and it has been losing users in the US. However, for the first time in 12 years, the company had a profitable quarter. In its Q4 2017 report, the company’s shown an income of $91 million on revenues of $732 million. Will this turn things for the better for Twitter? And what role will Parag play as Twitter works towards improving itself in the wake of criticism about fake news and problems with its verification process? We wait and watch.