New Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is on the middle of Jack Dorsey’s plans to remodel social media

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With his resignation as Twitter CEO on Monday, Jack Dorsey is handing the reins to a Ph.D. computer scientist from Stanford who has played a pivotal role in developing the company’s artificial intelligence while largely staying out of the public eye.

Parag Agrawal, who joined Twitter a decade ago and worked his way up to chief technology officer in 2017, will immediately take over the position of CEO following Dorsey’s surprise resignation. Dorsey described his trust in Agrawal as “bone deep”.

“The board has carried out a strict process taking into account all options and unanimously appointed Parag,” wrote Dorsey on Monday in an email to Twitter employees, which he also shared by tweet. “He has been my choice for some time because he understands the company and its needs very well.”

Agrawal has been Dorsey’s closest partner in considering the future of the Twitter platform, and the two share a shared vision for social media decentralization, according to a former company executive who asked not to be named for confidentiality reasons.

In particular, Agrawal was instrumental in creating Project Bluesky, an open source project that tapped some notable crypto developers to create an open standard for social media. The aim is to develop technologies and protocols that allow content published on a service to work on multiple social networks, similar to the way email can be read with any provider.

Agrawal is a stark contrast to Dorsey as the public face of one of the most high-profile companies in technology. While Dorsey is a well-known and in some circles notorious figure in Silicon Valley for creating several successful startups and a large audience for his views on crypto To gain meditation and international travel, Agrawal was almost entirely behind the scenes on Twitter.

Dorsey has 5.9 million Twitter followers. Agrawal was about 24,000 earlier in the day, though that number rose over 100,000 by late Pacific time morning.

Prior to joining Twitter in October 2011, Agrawal was doing research at AT&T Labs, Microsoft, and Yahoo, according to his LinkedIn page. He received his PhD in 2012.

Agrawal will run a company of over 5,500 employees, up from fewer than 1,000 when he first arrived.

“Although it’s been a decade, these days feel like yesterday to me,” Agrawal wrote in an email to employees on Monday. “I walked in your shoes, I saw the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the victories and the mistakes. But then and now I mainly see the incredible impact of Twitter, our continued progress and the exciting opportunities ahead of us . “

As CTO, according to his biography, Agrawal led the company’s technical strategy and helped develop its AI and machine learning technology.

Timothy Chklovski, a former Twitter software engineer, praised Agrawal’s leadership style, technical skills, and commitment to Twitter.

“Parag is phenomenal, understands the problems, stays up late to get it done, takes care of others – he’s the whole package,” Chklovski, who worked for Agrawal from 2012 to 2014, told CNBC. “And he lives and breathes Twitter.”

Twitter’s website integrity director, Yoel Roth, tweeted similar views following the announcement.

“Parag was one of the first engineers I worked with when I first started on Twitter (when we first worked on timeline ranking),” wrote Roth. “The rigor he applies to every decision was clear at the time, and I am pleased that this is recognized today.”

SEE: Jack Dorsey is stepping down as CEO of Twitter

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