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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal sacks top executives, freezes hiring as Elon Musk takeover put on hold

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Musk inked a deal to buy Twitter last month and said that he wanted to weed out fake bot accounts and authenticate real humans on the platform.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s proposed $44-billion takeover of Twitter (put on ‘temporary hold’) has shaken up the company’s top leadership. Consumer Product Leader Kayvon Beykpour has already announced that current CEO Parag Agrawal “asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction”. General Manager of Revenue and Head of Product for the business side Bruce Falck also confirmed in a now deleted tweet that he was also fired.

Now, in an unexpected turn of events, Agrawal responded to both threads, thanking the two and expressing admiration for their work.

Jay Sullivan will take over as head of product and interim head of revenue.

In a memo to employees 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.” The Verge first reported on the internal memo.

Twitter spokesperson Adrian Zamora has since confirmed the changes and said Beykpour and Falck were leaving Twitter. Sullivan will be the new general manager of Bluebird and interim general manager of Goldbird.

Zamora also confirmed to the publication that Twitter was pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business-critical roles. The company is pulling back on non-labour costs to ensure responsibility and efficiency.

Thanks for everything you have done for Twitter – your impact will be felt for a long time, by many people. On a personal note, it has been so great to see how you have always led with your heart, with relentless focus, and a deep care for our teams.

— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 13, 2022

As its product leader and general manager of consumer, Beykpour led the development of many big features and design changes over the past years. The shakeup comes as a surprise since Agrawal reorganised the executive team a few months ago following the exit of Twitter’s design and engineering leads.

Beykpour has been with Twitter since 2015 following its acquisition of Periscope, the livestreaming company he co-founded. With Twitter folding Periscope’s livestreaming features into the main app, Beykpour shifted into the company, becoming head of consumer product in 2018. He also oversaw a productive period of feature launches. Periscope was shut down last year.

You’ve had such a huge impact. I have so much respect and admiration for what you have accomplished and am so glad I got to work closely with you all these years.

— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) May 12, 2022

In his thread, Falck thanked the engineers he had 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 was less visible to users, he was a key figure in Twitter changing how it served advertising.

Also Read | Elon Musk says his $44 bln Twitter deal on hold pending spam, fake accounts details

In a surprise move on Friday, Musk, the world’s wealthiest person, tweeted: “Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of users.” Musk inked a deal to buy Twitter last month and said that he wanted to weed out fake bot accounts and authenticate real humans on the platform.

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