×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to Step Down

Dick Costolo is stepping down as the CEO of Twitter. He made the announcement Thursday on Twitter.

Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the social-media giant, will serve as interim CEO effective July 1.

The move surprised both Wall Street and Silicon Valley because both Costolo and his supporters within the company had shaken off long-held criticism that he was responsible for the company underperforming.

In a conference call with reporters after Costolo’s announcement, Dorsey made clear that the company isn’t shifting its strategic focus and that Costolo left of his own accord. “This transition is not the result of anything more than Dick deciding to move on from his role as CEO,” he said.

Shares of Twitter stock rose 8% in after-hours trading Thursday.

“I am tremendously proud of the Twitter team and all that the team has accomplished together during my six years with the company,” said Costolo in a statement. “We have great leaders who work well together and a clear strategy that informs our objectives and priorities.”

Twitter management had come under fire for sluggish growth while competitors in the social-media sector including Facebook grew larger and progressed faster on monetizing their user base.

Twitter’s monthly user base will grow just 14.1% this year, slowing from more than 30% two years ago, according to eMarketer. Twitter accounted for less than 1% of the $145 billion digital advertising worldwide in 2014 while Facebook approached 8% over the same period.

Costolo, 51, moved from COO to CEO at Twitter in 2010, succeeding co-founder Evan Williams. He joined the company the previous year after selling a startup he founded, Feedburner, to Google in 2007.

In his time at Twitter, Costolo presided over a period of enormous growth for both the user base, now at 284 million worldwide, and the company itself, which tripled in size. But over the past year, Costolo was unable to quiet the din of investors calling for better oversight of the company in order to realize its full potential.

Most recently, venture capitalist Chris Sacca — an early investor in Twitter — had gone public with an extensive critique of the company’s weaknesses, though he stopped short of calling for Costolo’s resignation.

While he oversees Twitter, Dorsey will continue as CEO of electronic-payment company Square. But he is not expected to be a long-term consideration for the top job at Twitter, which will open up one of the most high-profile posts in Silicon Valley.

While the job will attract big names from outside the company, Twitter has a few high-ranking execs that will likely throw their hats in the ring: chief financial officer Anthony Noto and president of global revenue Adam Bain.

In a conference call with reporters after Costolo, announcement, Dorsey gave some sense of what he is looking for in a new CEO: “We’re looking for someone who uses and loves the product in every single way.”

“The future belongs to Twitter thanks in large part to Dick Costolo’s dedication and vision,” said Dorsey in a statement. “Dick has put a world-class team in place and created a great foundation from which Twitter can continue to change the world and grow.”

Costolo’s exit may renew speculation that Twitter is an acquisition target, with Google most recently being bandied about as a potential suitor.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • STRANGER THINGS

    'Stranger Things 3' Is Most-Watched Season to Date, Netflix Says

    The Upside Down delivered upside for Netflix in the third quarter: “Stranger Things” season 3 was the most-watched season of the series to date, according to the streamer. In the first four weeks of release, “Stranger Things” season 3 was watched by 64 million member households, Netflix said in the Q3 letter to shareholders. The [...]

  • Stranger Things Season 3

    Netflix Undershoots U.S. Subscriber Adds for Q3, Beats Profit Forecast

    Netflix fell slightly short of its U.S. subscriber forecast in the third quarter — and projected lower Q4 subscriber growth than Wall Street was expecting as competition looms from Apple and Disney. Still, the company reported solid gains, announcing a Q3 record for paid subscriber additions and revenue, and handily topped analyst forecasts for profit. [...]

  • Despacito Luis Fonsi Daddy Yankee

    'Despacito' Tops Vevo's Most-Watched Videos of the Past Decade Chart

    In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Vevo today announced its Top 10 lists of the decade’s most-watched music videos. Not surprisingly, the Most-Watched Music Video accolade goes to Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” (featuring Daddy Yankee), with 6.4 billion views since its release in early 2017. The second most-viewed video is Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” (featuring Bruno [...]

  • Dead To Me

    Streaming Shows Nearly Doubled in Last Year, Boosting Los Angeles TV Production

    Television production in Los Angeles has received a major boost from streaming shows, according to a new report from the permitting organization FilmLA. The number of new digital projects nearly doubled between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 development cycles, increasing approximately 85.3% in a year. The number of digitally distributed original series in production has increased by [...]

  • Shonda Rhimes

    Shonda Rhimes Inks Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia

    Hit-making TV writer and producer Shonda Rhimes is jumping into the podcast game in a much bigger way. Rhimes’ Shondaland production company announced a three-year pact with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio, which will produce a slate of original podcasts to be released as part of the iHeartPodcast Network. Rhimes will oversee development and Sandie [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content