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Twitter's latest departure reveals a leaky ship

Chief Scientist Chowdhury, and two board members Wilson and Sabet leave in the same week

Technology trends and news by Nathan Pensky
September 18, 2011 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1f11

It was a bit of a corporate shake-up week for Twitter.

On Friday, Twitter's Chief Scientist Abdur Chowdhury left the company, confirming as much via his own Twitter account. Chowdhury Tweeted on Friday, "So Long and THanks for All the Fish. Twitter was an amazing experience & even greater set of people." The initial sentence of this statement is a reference to the popular science-fiction novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, spoken by hyper-intelligent dolphins on their flight from the end of the world.

Chowdhury's departure comes on the same day Twitter announced that Bijan Sabet, a partner at Spark Capital, and Fred Wilson, of Union Square Ventures, would be leaving Twitter’s board of directors. Both Sabet and Wilson were early investors in Twitter.  

While Chowdhury has given no indication as to the reason for his departure, one can speculate that perhaps it has to do with the corporate twists and turns reshaping the company, as well as the new massive round of funding. 

In August, Twitter announced that it raised a significant round of financing. The announcement was referring to the many reports of an $800 million in new financing, of which half would be used to cash out early investors. About half the funds were invested by Yuri Milner and Russia's Direct Sky Technologies, putting Twitter's estimated worth at $8 billion.

The financing and departures also comes as Twitter hints at launching a new advertising platform in conjunction with the recently-acquired AdGrok. Twitter's partnership with AdGrok may indicate a move into self-formulated performance data, as opposed to tapping the research of third parties.

Twitter could not be reached for immediate comment. 

The departures of Chowdhury and the two board members are latest in a series of high-profile departures by Twitter's elite crew. Co-founder Biz Stone recently rsigned, citing the "incredible product[ivity]" of the company's leadership. Said Stone in an accompanying blog post, "I've decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I'm called upon to be of some specific use."

Others among those in the Twitter mass exodus include four fired product managers -- Jean-Paul Cozzati, Anamitra Banerj, Kevin Chang, and Josh Elman. Twitter CTO (and Summize co-founder) Greg Pass left in May.

Prior to founding Summize Chowdhury was chief architect of search product at AOL and is also a co-founder of the Alta Vista School, an independent, science-focused elementary school in San Francisco. With Chowdhury's departure, not one of the original members of Summize now work for Twitter.

(Image source: sodahead.com)


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