Turmoil at Twitter: Four top executives leave company, some for competitors

Twitter Founder
Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter
Updated on 01-27-2016 by Lulu Chang: Just two days after news of his departure from Twitter officially broke, ex-product head Kevin Weil has announced his new gig — the same position at Facebook-owned Instagram. His decision to take a new head of product position at a rival company seems to rub salt in the gaping wound that is currently Twitter leadership, but sources claim that Weil had been pursued by Instagram for months before deciding to leave Jack Dorsey’s company. Peter Deng, who formerly headed up product for Instagram, recently moved over to the Oculus division of Facebook, leaving the job in the photo-sharing app open. Until now, that is. 

Weil won’t be starting at Instagram all that soon, however. A Tuesday SEC filing shows that Weil is to remain at Twitter until January 29, and after over six years at the company, it seems that he’ll want some time to recover before starting his new job. Instagram has not commented on the reported changes as of yet.

Updated on 01-25-2015 by Jeremy Kaplan with confirmation from Twitter of the departures.

Four top executives at Twitter have officially “chosen to leave the company,” CEO Jack Dorsey confirmed Monday morning — more bad news for a guy still suffering from recently losing his status as a billionaire.

The mass exodus included media head Katie Jacobs Stanton, product head Kevin Weil, Senior Vice President of Engineering Alex Roetter, and Vice President of Human Resources Skip Shipper. Rumors of the news swirled on Sunday, with reports from The New York Times and other sources suggesting the shakeup was imminent. Additionally, Reuters suggests that Jason Toff, the head of Twitter’s video streaming service Vine, as well as business development head Jana Messerschmidt, were considering a move.

A full announcement came Monday from Dorsey (via Twitter of course), and this major shakeup at the top of Twitter can’t be doing anything for Dorsey’s or investors’ nerves:

Twitter waters have been choppy since Dorsey re-adopted the role of CEO last year, starting with a slew of employee layoffs that raised many eyebrows on both Wall Street and in Silicon Valley. Though Twitter is still mentioned in the same breath as other major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, its future seems a bit nebulous at this point.

This most recent mass exodus of Twitter executives has not been viewed favorably by experts in the field, and it didn’t do Twitter’s steadily declining stock any favors when the market reopened on Monday. In early morning trading, the stock was down about 4 percent to $17 per share.

“While we may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, we don’t see how the departure of the heads of three major business divisions can be viewed as a positive in the middle of an attempted business turnaround,” Stiffel Research analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a research report.

And the attempt has been significant — Twitter has unveiled a number of new features in the last few months, and has even flirted with the idea of expanding its famous 140 character limit. So far, none of that appears to be helping the company regain its day in the sun.


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