When IIT-Bombay graduate Parag Agrawal was named the CEO of Twitter in November last year, following Jack Dorsey’s exit, Indian netizens were ecstatic. Agrawal had joined a long list of Indian-origin business heads such as Sundar Pichai (Google), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Shatanu Narayen (Adobe), Arvind Krishna (IBM), Nikesh Arora (Palo Alto Networks), and Rangarajan Raghuram (VMWare) with their growing influence in the global tech ecosystem.
But with Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, the plans for the company are all up in the air. What will then happen to Agrawal and his role?
To begin with, Musk wrote to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor, which was disclosed in securities filing, stating his lack of faith in the management. “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy. However, since making my investment I now realise the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company,” he said, adding that his offer of $54.20 per share is the best and final offer.
This throws open questions of Agrawal’s future in the company. And exits of company heads following a takeover is not unheard of.
Moreover, Agrawal also told his employees at a company-wide town hall that the future of the social media firm is uncertain. He reportedly deferred many questions and said that they be directed to Musk.
"Once the deal closes, we don't know which direction the platform will go. I believe when we have an opportunity to speak with Elon, it's a question we should address with him," he said. Agrawal said that there were no plans for layoffs.
Nevertheless, co-founder Jack Dorsey seems to be on Parag Agrawal’s corner. In a series of tweets he said that he does not believe that Twitter should be run by one person – it is a public company, which will transform into a private one following the completion of the deal.
“In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness,” said Dorsey.
“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one. This is also Parag Agrawal’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path...I believe it with all my heart,” he said.
Even if things do not go Agrawal’s way, he could be compensated with an estimated $42 million if he were terminated within 12 months of a change in control, as per research firm Equilar. The estimate includes Agrawal’s annual base salary plus accelerated vesting of all equity awards based on Musk’s offering price of $54.20 per share.
(With Reuters inputs)
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