Twitter's CEO switch is a smart business move

Twitter CEO Evan Williams stepped down today to focus more on product strategy, handing off the steering-of-the-ship duties to Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

One of the things to remember about start-ups is that the people that start them are usually technology entrepreneurs, not necessarily veteran business professionals. Oh sure, they have investors, advisers and a handful of other people offering their two cents on his the business should be run.

But in the earliest days, when a few people get together to build something new and different, one of them usually takes the CEO hat. In the earliest days at Twitter, that hat was worn by one of the founders, Jack Dorsey. Then, two years ago, co-founder Evan Williams took the big office.

Today, the CEO title was handed off to Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo, who is more of a "business guy" than the others. In a blog post announcing the change, Williams wrote:

When I insisted on bringing Dick into the COO role a year ago, I got a lot of questions from my board. But I knew Dick would be a strong complement to me, and this has proven to be the case. During his year at Twitter, he has been a critical leader in devising and executing our revenue efforts, while simultaneously and effectively making the trains run on time in the office. Dick can be even more effective at this now because Ali RowghaniAdam BainMike AbbottKatie Stanton and Kevin Thau joined our leadership team this year and are having a big impact. Given Dick’s track record as a three-time successful CEO, I’m confident we can make this a smooth transition.

I actually applaud the team for making the switch. Williams notes in his post that "Growing big is not success, in itself." Twitter has grown fast - there's no question about that. But has it grown in a smart way? Is it recognizes its true potential across technology, the financial statements and even culture?

If the company believes it can benefit most from putting Costolo in the CEO chair and allowing Williams to focus his time on product strategy, then more power to them. There's no sense in messing with the growth momentum by having the wrong person steering the ship.

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