Padmasree Warrior In Race For Twitter CEO’s Post
Pressure on Twitter’s board is mounting. In the three months since the company started searching for a new chief executive officer, the stock has slipped 22% and several product executives have left.
A leading internal candidate, according to people close to the board, is interim leader and co-founder Jack Dorsey — who’s already CEO at a company on the verge of an initial public offering. Twitter’s search firm, Spencer Stuart, has also been reaching out to potential leaders, including former Cisco Systems executive Padmasree Warrior and CBS Interactive’s Jim Lanzone.
Twitter’s board meets on Thursday and plans to discuss the results from the search so far, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Investors are getting impatient for directors to make a decision, or at least give a detailed update on the process, said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W Baird & Co. “The company, its employees and certainly its shareholders are in a little bit of limbo,” Sebastian said. “That qualifies it as an urgent matter of business.”
CEO searches take time, and even with the urgency, the board needs to be careful not to make a decision that’s too rushed — as was the case when Hewlett-Packard chose Leo Apotheker in 2010 in the wake of Mark Hurd’s departure, said Jo-Ellen Pozner, who teaches corporate governance and organizational misconduct at the University of California, Berkeley. Apotheker lasted a year and is mostly known for a disastrous acquisition and a series of reduced sales forecasts.
Even so, the San Francisco-based social-media company doesn’t have the luxury of a long, drawn-out process. Twitter’s board didn’t have a succession plan in place when former chief executive Dick Costolo departed, even though it wasn’t a surprise exit. That means they’re doing the search with the public knowing it’s happening, opening themselves up to scrutiny about their every move, Pozner said.
“The board needs to take some action and communicate it to shareholders,” she said. “There’s a huge amount of uncertainty, which creates a really uncomfortable feeling for shareholders and internal stakeholders.”
Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment. Some who were contacted don’t think they were seriously considered as candidates, given Dorsey’s position, said the people. Adam Bain, Twitter’s revenue chief, is also an internal candidate, though he’s unsure whether taking the job might jeopardize his relationship with Dorsey, people familiar with the matter have said.