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[SAN FRANCISCO] Twitter is losing four members of its executive leadership team, including its product and engineering chiefs, as the social media company tries to revive growth after its stock lost half its value in 12 months.
The quartet of executives, including product head Kevin Weil and head of engineering Alex Roetter, chose to leave the company and take some time off, Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said in a Twitter post. Separately, Twitter will this week add two new board members to help guide it through a turnaround, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the information was private.
The departures come as the company has failed to improve its site quickly enough to reverse a slowdown in user growth, according to the people familiar with the matter. Weil had been interviewing for other jobs over the past few months, according to several other people familiar with his plans.
Twitter's head of media, Katie Jacobs Stanton, and human resources vice president Brian "Skip" Schipper are also leaving the San Francisco-based company, Dorsey said.
"Was really hoping to talk to Twitter employees about this later this week, but want to set the record straight now," tweeted Dorsey, who took the helm last year. He described how Roetter and Weil helped get Twitter's advertising product to its current US$2 billion run rate, and how Stanton helped enhance content and open offices from Japan to Britain.
"All four will be taking some well-deserved time off." The company has been looking to add directors since appointing former Google executive Omid Kordestani as executive chairman in October. Shares of Twitter slipped 55 per cent in the 12 months through the close of trading on Jan 22. They rose 1.9 per cent to the equivalent of US$18.18 in German trade on Monday.
The exits will be the first significant departures from the technology company since co-founder Dorsey returned last year as CEO. His predecessor Dick Costolo oversaw a slew of high-profile departures, including C-level executives and heads of product and engineering. Weil, for example, was Twitter's fifth head of product in six years. The company also plans to announce the hire of a chief marketing officer soon, one of the people familiar said.
The San Francisco-based company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Feb. 10.
Dorsey's plan for getting Twitter out of a growth slump depends on enhancing the product, making it easier for people to use and less intimidating for newcomers to the social-media service known for its 140-character limit. The company has made several bold changes, including adding a Moments section to compile the best tweets about breaking news events on the site.
The departures of Roetter and Weil increase the burden on Dorsey, who is also CEO at Square Inc., an electronic payments company.
Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain will take over Twitter's revenue-related product and media teams and run HR in the interim, Dorsey said. Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger will take over all engineering and consumer product, design and research.
Weil, who has overseen Twitter's product improvements since late 2014, has been in conversations with venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for a job for the last several months, though hasn't secured a position, according to the people. Jason Toff, the head of the video-sharing application Vine, is also leaving the company and joining Google Inc to work on virtual reality, he said in his own Twitter post.