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From software engineer to new CEO of Twitter, what we know about Parag Agrawal

Indian-origin Parag Agrawal became the new chief executive officer (CEO) of social networking company Twitter. With that, he joins an elite club of Indian-origin CEOs of top US technology companies, which includes Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

On 29 November 2021, co-founder Jack Dorsey announced in an email to Twitter staff that he is stepping down as CEO and has named Agrawal as his successor. He also shared the email on the social media platform.

In his email, Dorsey said that Agrawal was his “choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs.”

“Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone deep.” Dorsey wrote.

In a note to staff following his appointment as CEO, Agrawal wrote, “The world is watching us right now, even more than they have before. Lots of people are going to have lots of different opinions about today’s news. It is because they care about Twitter and our future, and it’s a signal that the work we do here matters.”

Here’s all we know about Parag Agrawal

From Mumbai to becoming Twitter’s CEO

Image: Courtesy of Twitter/AFP

Agrawal was born in Mumbai and went to Atomic Energy Central School. A gold medallist at the International Physics Olympiad in Turkey, he graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay with a B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering.

In 2005, he left for the US and subsequently completed his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University. Agrawal’s doctoral thesis titled “Incorporating Uncertainty in Data Management and Integration” was published in 2012.

After working briefly with Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T Labs, Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 as a Distinguished Software Engineer.

Six years later, he became the chief technology officer (CTO) of the company. He is credited for having turned around Twitter’s audience growth in 2016-17.

When is Agrawal taking over?

He takes over as Twitter’s chief immediately. However, Dorsey will remain on the board till his term expires in 2022.

Indian reports say that as CEO, Agrawal will earn a compensation of US$1 million annually besides stocks worth US$12.5 million.

What lies ahead for Agrawal?

Image: Courtesy of Brett Jordan/@brett_jordan/Unsplash

As CEO, Agrawal will have to meet Twitter’s expectations of two-fold annual revenue growth over a three-year period, which was stated in the company’s first investor’s day presentation in 2021.

This means that revenues will have to touch at least US$7.5 billion in 2023 from US$3.7 billion in 2020.

Growth in the number of daily active users is also on the agenda. Twitter projects that compound an annual growth rate of 20 percent from 2019 will bring the number of monetisable daily active users to 315 million in Q4 of 2023.


Hero image: Justin Tallis/AFP/Twitter; Featured image: Twitter/AFP. The story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India

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