18.1 C
New Delhi
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
HomeTech'Twitter stint shows Agrawal’s career just getting started’

‘Twitter stint shows Agrawal’s career just getting started’


Twitter’s outgoing CEO Parag Agrawal’s gritty innings at the helm of the controversy-ridden social media platform is drawing plaudits from industry mavens, who’ve known him personally, crediting him with defending the company’s valuation amid a tumultuous takeover by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.

Last Thursday, the IIT-Bombay and Stanford University alumnus, and Twitter’s legal chief Vijaya Gadde, were ousted from their posts, immediately after Musk took over the reins of the San Francisco-based company following months of acrimonious debate and legal wrangling.

ET spoke to a swathe of industry watchers as well as long -term associates of the India-born engineer who said Agrawal had displayed “grace and business sense under pressure.”

“He kept his board and employees together, negotiated a great deal and took Musk to court and did not flinch when Musk wanted to negotiate down the value, and delivered the valuation agreed months ago,” said Devendra Agrawal, founder of investment firm Dexter Capital Advisors and Parag Agrawal’s IIT-B batchmate.

“Such an outstanding performance for a CEO who is yet to turn 40 means his career is just getting started,” he added while recalling that Agrawal’s “calm demeanour” in a crisis was second nature.

Agrawal’s meteoric rise is viewed with some pride and amazement by friends from college, who remember his “nerdy jokes” and “exceptional brilliance”. Amit Chandel, Co-founder and CTO of Bengaluru-based SmartCoin Financials remembers how Agrawal used to finish open book exams way before deadline, astounding professors. He was also the go-to guy for pre-exam doubts, the types only the true-blue nerds can solve. ”

Discover the stories of your interest



He has been a problem solver, and it showed in how he handled tough situations during his decade-long stint at Twitter,” he added.

But the India-born technocrat’s year-long stint as CEO had its beginning couched in crisis and drama. In January 2021, Donald Trump, who was then the US President, was ousted from the platform.

Trump’s eviction from the platform had triggered intense debates on what were the duties and rights of the platform in upholding “freedom of speech” while also not allowing it to be used to incite societal discord.

“After (Jack) Dorsey moved on from the role, Agrawal did little to evolve Twitter’s strategy as it struggled to retain its former reverence and relevance in the market,” said HFS Research’s CEO Phil Fersht while pointing out that “ his ( Agrawal’s )financial and technical capabilities are not it any doubt, but he lacked vision and leadership in a business that really needed it. “

For Musk, the Trump ouster, among other things, was a serious concern relating to moderation policy, algorithmic practices, and political stance.

In April, Musk made the $44-billion offer to buy Twitter. Since then, Twitter’s internal policy making and response to Musk’s advances became open topics of debate, turning an unrelenting glare on Agrawal’s leadership and decisions.

Twitter sued Musk in July for acting in “bad faith,” after Musk withdrew his offer citing unclear data over bots. A US judge told Musk to follow through with his offer or face trial, after which Musk made good on his offer last week.

“Parag Agrawal did a brilliant job upholding the company valuation and Twitter shareholders owe him a great debt,” HFS’s Fersht said.

The Twitter stock which had dropped to $32.65 in early July, after Musk announced he was withdrawing the offer, had climbed 64% to $53.7 a piece on Friday.

Agrawal did not respond to requests for comment from ET.

He is expected to receive a pay-out of $42 million upon his exit at Twitter. Along with Agrawal and Gadde, CFO Ned Segal was also let go by Twitter, according to reports.

The 38-year old Agrawal ranks among the younger lot of Indian-origin CEOs running Big Tech firms. With Sundar Pichai of Google at 50, Satya Nadella of Microsoft at 55, and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe at 59, Agrawal has higher chances of entering the C-suite of several Big Tech firms that dot the Silicon Valley, industry watchers said.

His strong technology background – he was CTO at Twitter prior to elevation and led several futuristic projects – would mean his future stints might factor in his managerial and tech experience at Twitter.

Agrawal played a key role in Twitter’s Bluesky programme. According to a note put out by the Bluesky Twitter handle, it’s a new protocol to run a social network with several ‘decentralised’ concepts. Account portability, for example: you can move your social media account from one network provider to another.

Hemant Mohapatra, partner at Lightspeed India, said in a Tweet on Saturday that Agrawal’s real career was “just getting started.” “Frankly the only one coming out of the Twitter debacle looking good is Parag. Massive turnaround and shareholder value creation, dignified leadership against 24*7 chaos, made Elon bend to follow through, shipped code…”



Source link

- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -

Our Archieves

- Advertisment -