Who is Parag Agrawal? Meet the New CEO of Twitter

Parag Agrawal

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Twitter, on Monday, announced that Jack Dorsey has decided to step down as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors has unanimously appointed Parag Agrawal as the new CEO and the Member of the Board. The move was apparently in the making as there were several rumors that the Board was looking to replace Jack with someone else. Formerly working as Twitter’s CTO, Parag Agrawal’s tenure as the CEO will be effective immediately.

A 37-year-old Indian immigrant, Parag Agrawal now joins the big league of celebrity CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Also, he is a new addition to the list of Indian-origin CEOs helming large tech companies around the world—accompanying the likes of Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen, etc. Let us shed light upon who is Parag Agrawal, his educational and professional background, as well as his journey with Twitter from being a Software Engineer to the CEO.

A Strong Academic Background

Born in Mumbai, India, Agrawal had a strong academic background. His father was a senior officer in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy whereas his mother is a retired school teacher.  He studied at the Atomic Energy Central School No.4. A bright student since childhood, Agrawal had a good grasp of mathematics and was well-versed in handling large databases.

Agrawal won a gold medal at the 2001 International Physics Olympiad held in Turkey. After earning his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Agrawal moved to the United States to pursue a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Eminent Career with Twitter

After pursuing his doctorate, Agrawal worked for esteemed companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and AT&T before joining Twitter in 2011.  In his tenure as a Distinguished Software Engineer, he worked extensively across revenue and consumer engineering and immensely contributed to the re-acceleration of audience growth in 2016 and 2017. In October 2017, Agrawal was appointed as the CTO of the company. As the CTO, he was in charge of Twitter’s technical strategy and led the work to increase developmental velocity while also improving the state of machine learning across the company.

In his tenure as a CTO, one of the biggest achievements for Agrawal has been overseeing Twitter’s decentralized ‘Bluesky’ platform—an open and decentralized standard for social media. A brainchild of the previous CEO Dorsey, Bluesky has been one of Twitter’s most ambitious projects. Moreover, Agrawal spearheaded the effort to advance Twitter’s internal technology in 2018 with an aim to augment feature development and deployment.

Talking about the project in an interview with The Information, Agrawal said, “When we hear people say that Twitter is slow at shipping, it hurts, and it is something we use as a motivation.” Furthermore, Agrawal was also involved in several projects that were reactionary fixes to Twitter’s existing problems. In 2020, he was part of the effort to address Twitter’s problematic racial cropping issues with photo previews. He also handled the public explanation for the company’s 2018 password bug.

Well-liked by the Former CEO

Agrawal is said to be one of the most trusted colleagues of the former CEO Dorsey. In his email written to Twitter employees on Monday, Dorsey heaped praises on Agrawal. He wrote, “The board ran a rigorous process considering all possible options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time, given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep.”

Challenges lying ahead

Today, Twitter is facing a plethora of challenges including opposition to its moderation policies, slow user growth compared to faster-growing social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, etc. as well as increasing issues with misinformation and hate speech. Leveraging his technical expertise, acute business acumen as well as years of experience with Twitter’s products and strategies, Agrawal is expected to play a major role in resolving these challenges.

In the email to the employees after his appointment, he said, “I recognize that some of you know me well, some just a little and some not at all. I am sure you have lots of questions and there’s a lot for us to discuss. We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right. But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results.”

Although Parag Agrawal’s appointment has created a buzz, being at the helm of a large conglomerate like Twitter comes with a lot of responsibilities. One has to be aware of the current industry trends as well as have the vision to drive the changes for the future. Business APAC wishes Parag Agrawal all the best for his future endeavors!

List of Twitter CEOs

Jack Dorsey(2006-2008)
Evan Williams(2008-2010)
Dick Costolo(2010-2015)
Jack Dorsey(2015-2021)
Parag Agrawal(2021- present)

Also read: Inspirational Youngest Entrepreneurs In India 2022

BusinessApac

BusinessApac

BusinessApac shares the latest news and events in the business world and produces well-researched articles to help the readers stay informed of the latest trends. The magazine also promotes enterprises that serve their clients with futuristic offerings and acute integrity.

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