Twitter promotes two execs to take over for Rowghani

Steven Loeb · June 20, 2014 · Short URL:

Adam Bain is now head of business development and Gabriel Stricker is in charge of the media team

It's been a week now since Twitter COO Ali Rowghani was forced out of the company after he failed to grow Twitter’s user base, something that has caused quite a bit of a problem over there.

So now comes the hard part: replacing him. Perhaps sensing that the role might just be too much for one person, though, Twitter has decided to actually split up Rowghani's old duties, and promote two of its executives instead of one.

Adam Bain, who had been head of revenue at the company, has now also added head of business development to his title as well. And Gabriel Stricker, who had been vice president of marketing and communications, will now be overseeing the entire media team at Twitter.

Both of these moves were first noticed by, and then confirmed to, Recode on Thursday. Both Bain and Stricker have also ach updated their Twitter bios to reflect the new titles. 

One of those executives is Adam Bain, who moves over from Twitter's advertising branch to now head business development. The other executive is Gabriel Stricker, who will go from being the company's vice president of marketing and communications to overseeing the whole media team.

The departure of Rowghani was not unexpected. The former Pixar exec joined Twitter in 2010 initially as CFO. He was then named COO in 2012,  and led the company through its IPO, 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 was 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.

Despite all of that, it seems that Rowghani’s time at Twitter is not entirely over. The company’s SEC filing noted that Rowghani will remain an employee of Twitter and act as a strategic advisor to CEO Dick Costolo.

We have reached out to Twitter for further comment regarding Bain and Stricker. We will update if we learn anything more. 

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.


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