Twitter COO Ali Rowghani checks out

Faith Merino · June 12, 2014 · Short URL:

Rowghani is the latest in a string of executive resignations

Well here’s a stunner for you: Twitter’s executive board is going through yet another shakeup. No, it’s not another CEO coup. This time, it’s the COO who’s getting the boot (or gracefully stepping down, however you want to look at it).

Less than 24 hours after Re/Code’s Kara Swisher reported that COO Ali Rowghani has been divested of his role of overseeing product following a series of missteps—the largest of which has been the failure to grow Twitter’s user base.

Rowghani tweeted a goodbye note Thursday: "Goodbye Twitter," he wrote. "It's been an amazing ride and I will cherish the memories."

The former Pixar exec joined Twitter in 2010 (the same year CEO Evan Williams was forced out and replaced by then-COO Dick Costolo) initially as CFO. He led the company through its IPO, which ended its opening day 73% higher than it started at $44.10. Shares have since fallen 17.48% since November 2013 as Twitter’s user growth has flatlined.

In 2012, Dick Costolo said that Twitter’s user base, which counted 200 million users at the time, would double by the end of 2014. Today, that number stands at some 250 million—and it’s clear the company isn’t going to add 150 million users over the next six months.

Rowghani was named COO in 2012, but a number of recent missteps have called his leadership ability into question. Most notably, he sold 300,000 shares worth $9.9 million when the lockup ended—even though the rest of the Twitter executive team and its investors had committed to holding onto their shares to prove their faith in the company’s future. Rowghani later explained at an all-hands meeting that he wanted to raise money for a foundation that was doing research on the disease that killed his father.

And then, right before Twitter’s most recent earnings report, Rowghani was referred to as Twitter’s “co-CEO,” which Twitter management didn’t find all that cute.

Rowghani’s resignation is just the latest in a string of management shakeups. Back in January, former VP of Consumer Product, Michael Sippey, was moved into an advisory position. And last month, engineering SVP Chris Fry departed the company.

Current SVP of Consumer Product David Graf joined the company in April, but reported directly to Dick Costolo rather than Ali Rowghani.

Rowghani’s responsibilities have been passed onto David Graf, according to the Re/Code report. The company’s SEC filing is less specific:

“Twitter does not intend to hire a replacement for the COO role, and all of Mr. Rowghani’s operating responsibilities will be assumed by other members of the Twitter management team.”

The filing also notes that Rowghani will remain an employee of Twitter and act as a strategic advisor to the CEO. 


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