Twitter's Latest Reshuffle Doesn't Inspire Confidence

Photograph by Gallery Stock

This week, Twitter pushed its consumer product head, Daniel Graf, into a “special projects” role, choosing to give another executive charge of his responsibilities, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly.

Three things make this surprising. First, Graf had just joined the company in April. Second, his hiring had been a sticking point in a power struggle between Chief Executive Dick Costolo and Ali Rowghani, the chief operating officer, which ended with Rowghani’s departure in June. And third, this makes Graf’s replacement, Kevin Weil, the fifth person in charge of Twitter’s product in five years.

This time last year, Costolo was pitching Twitter’s prospects to investors around the country ahead of the company’s November initial public offering. Now he has an almost completely different team behind him. Besides Rowghani’s departure and Weil’s promotion, there are a new chief financial officer, head of engineering, and head of news. Another engineering executive left this week.

“As the company grows, and you go through these changes, the team is going to evolve,” Costolo said on Monday about the company’s management changes.

Twitter has always been turbulent at the top, especially when it comes to making decisions about how the product should change. But now Costolo has made promises to investors about things that will definitely improve, such as the company’s messaging product and the experience for users who aren’t logged in.

On Monday, after Twitter reported another quarter of slowing increases in the number of users, Costolo vowed that the company would move faster to push new features out, implying a dissatisfaction with how things had happened before.

People who know Costolo say he trusts his new lieutenants to get the job done. It’s not clear if the shuffle is over, but as we were told in August, Costolo might be in trouble if this doesn’t work out.

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