Meet Parag Agrawal: An Indian born American technocrat who is now the CEO of Twitter!

In what has become a major power transition in the technological world, Indian born American technocrat Parag Agrawal has become the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Twitter, the global social media giant. Agrawal has replaced Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, who was at the helm for over fifteen years. The development has drawn global attention and Agrawal's elevation has widened the kingdom of the Indian technocrats in Silicon Valley, which is the global centre for high technology and innovation. 

Agrawal has taken the baton on Monday after Jack Dorsey announced his resignation. Agrawal has a decade old experience working in Twitter and before the elevation, he was serving as the company's Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since 2017. Though there were rumours over the transition, Agrawal's elevation was unanticipated and he was on the top of the card when Dorsey has decided to hand over the leadership. Let's take a look at who Parag Agrawal is and what Dorsey had to say over his resignation. 

With the elevation, 37-year-old Parag Agrawal shares his age with American Executive Mark Zuckerberg and has become one of the youngest CEOs in the world. Born in Mumbai, Parag Agrawal has graduated BTech from the IIT Bombay. His father was a senior official in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and his mother is a retired school teacher. Agrawal has done his schooling at Atomic Energy Central School and renowned Indian singer Shreya Ghoshal was his classmate. After graduating from IIT Bombay in 2005, Agrawal had then moved to the United States and pursued his higher education in computer science at Stanford University. 

He brings in a rich experience for the micro-blogging site and before joining Twitter in 2011, Agrawal had worked at Microsoft, AT&T, and Yahoo. He joined Twitter as a distinguished Software Engineer and became the CTO in October 2017 and also became one of the favourite technocrats of the outgoing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. When he was appointed as the CTO, the company has said in a statement, "In his capacity as CTO, he's focused on scaling a cohesive machine learning and AI approach across our consumer and revenue product and infrastructure teams." 

As the CTO, Agrawal was responsible for the company's technical strategy, leading work to improve development velocity while advancing the state of Machine Learning across the company. After having a successful tenure as the CTO, Agrawal has been tagged as being instrumental in Twitter's technical strategy and overseeing machine learning and AI across the consumer, revenue, and science teams. Though he shared space in Twitter's leadership circuit,  he was not familiar with the globe and his goodwill with Dorsey has become one of the crucial reasons behind his elevation as the CEO. 

After announcing his resignation as the CEO, Jack Dorsey has sent mail on Monday to all Twitter employees in which he said, "The board ran a rigorous process considering all 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." 

Acknowledging the mail from his outgoing boss, Agrawal has sent mail to Twitter employees in which he said, "I recognize that some of you know me well, some just a little, and some not at all. Let's consider ourselves at the beginning-the first step towards our future. I'm sure you have lots of questions and there's a lot for us to discuss. At the all-hands tomorrow, we'll have lots of time for Q&A and discussion. It will be the beginning of ongoing open, direct conversations I wish for us to have together." 

In December 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had announced that Agrawal would be in-charge of Project Bluesky, which is an independent team of open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media that would help better control abusive and misleading information on its platform. Within Twitter, Agrawal has been considered one of the top engineers. 

Quoting the insiders, A New York Times report has said Agrawal is quiet, polite, deeply technical and enthused about an internet where power and control are given back to users. Parag Agrawal is married to Vineeta Agrawal, who is a general partner at the US-based Andreessen Horowitz, a venture capital firm. And like the Samosa caucus in the United States with the Indian-American lawmakers, Parag Agrawal has joined the club of Indian based American Chief Executive Officer, in line with Sundar Pichai (Google), Satya Nadalla (Microsoft), Girish Mathrubootham (FreshWorks), and Shantanu Narayen (Adobe).

Agrawal has released a statement on Twitter and wrote, "Deep gratitude for Jack Dorsey and our entire team, and so much excitement for the future." In a statement, he said, "Thank you, Jack. I'm honoured and humbled. And I'm grateful for your continued mentorship and your friendship. I'm grateful for the service you built, the culture, soul, and purpose you fostered among us, and for leading the company through really significant challenges. I'm grateful for the trust you've put in me and for your continued partnership." 

What's next for Jack Dorsey? 

It's not an immediate exit for Dorsey from Twitter and he will stay on the board of the company until his term expires in 2022. It was actually his second exit from Twitter. He left the micro-blogging site in 2009 and established the digital payments company 'Square' and he is always been fond of bitcoins. Dorsey came back to Twitter in 2015. Until Monday, he was running both companies, which disturbed many investors. Last year, Elliott Management, a large investor in Twitter, has tried to make Dorsey choose anyone from his both companies and advocated that there should be a separate and full Chief Executive for Twitter. 

As he has now given up the baton to Parag Agrawal, Dorsey will spend his time and experience completely with his digital company Square, which has become successful. In his statement to Twitter employees about his resignation, Dorsey said, "I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company...and all of you so much. I'm really sad...yet really happy. There aren't many companies that get to his level. And there aren't many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we'll prove this was the right move." 

"Parag is CEO starting today. I'm going to serve on the board through my term to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that...I'll leave the board. Why not stay or become chair? I believe it's really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction", Dorsey added.