New Twitter boss Parag Agrawal goes from behind the scenes to high profile – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) – The newly appointed Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has emerged behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile and politically unstable jobs.

But his previous lack of name recognition combined with a solid technical background seems to be what some big company backers were looking for to lead Twitter out of its current morass.

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A 37-year-old immigrant from India, Agrawal comes outside the ranks of celebrity CEOs, which includes the man he replaces, Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk from SpaceX and Tesla. These branded business founders and executives have often been in the news – and on Twitter – for exploits beyond the day-to-day running of their businesses.

After serving as Twitter’s chief technology officer for the past four years, Agrawal’s appointment of Wall Street was seen as a choice of a person who will focus on launching Twitter into what is commonly seen as the Internet’s next era – the meta-verse.

In this photo provided by Twitter, Parag Agrawal poses for a photo.  The newly appointed Twitter CEO Agrawal has emerged behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley's most high-profile and politically unstable jobs.  (Ellian Raffoul / With permission from Twitter via AP)

In this photo provided by Twitter, Parag Agrawal poses for a photo. The newly appointed Twitter CEO Agrawal has emerged behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile and politically unstable jobs. (Ellian Raffoul / With permission from Twitter via AP)

Agrawal is a “safe” choice that should be considered positive by investors, “wrote CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino, noting that Twitter shareholder Elliott Management Corp. had pressured Dorsey to resign.

Elliott issued a statement Monday, saying Agrawal and new board chairman Bret Taylor were the “right leaders for Twitter at this crucial moment for the company.” Taylor is the President and CEO of the business software company Salesforce.

Agrawal, whose name is pronounced (PUH-rag AH-gur-wahl), joins a growing cadre of Indian-American CEOs of big technology companies, including Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella and IBM’s Arvind Krishna.

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He joined San Francisco-based Twitter in 2011, where it only had 1,000 employees, and has been its technical manager since 2017. By the end of last year, the company had a workforce of 5,500.

Agrawal has previously worked with Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T in research roles. At Twitter, he has worked with machine learning, revenue and consumer technology and helped with audience growth. He studied at Stanford and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

While Twitter has high-profile users like politicians and celebrities and is a favorite among journalists, its user base lags far behind old rivals like Facebook and YouTube and newer ones like TikTok. It has just over 200 million daily active users, a common industry survey.

As CEO, Agrawal needs to step beyond the technical details and deal with the social and political issues that Twitter and social media are struggling with. These include misinformation, abuse and effects on mental health.

Agrawal got a quick introduction to life as the CEO of a high-profile company that is one of the key platforms for political speech online. Conservatives quickly revealed a tweet he sent in 2010 that read, “If they do not want to distinguish between Muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists.”

As some Twitter users pointed out, the 11-year-old tweet quoted a segment on “The Daily Show,” which referred to the firing of Juan Williams, who made a comment about being nervous about Muslims on a plane.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the tweet.

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