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Who Is Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s New C.E.O.?


A longtime Twitter insider and a confidant of co-founder Jack Dorsey, Mr. Agrawal takes over as the social media company confronts various challenges.
When Jack Dorsey, then Twitter’s executive chairman, pushed the company to build out its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities in 2014, he turned to an engineer, Parag Agrawal. When Mr. Dorsey later became Twitter’s chief executive and needed help overhauling the company’s infrastructure, he also tapped Mr. Agrawal. And when Mr. Dorsey envisioned a future for Twitter in 2019 that would be based on the concept of decentralization and technologies such as the blockchain, he again pulled in Mr. Agrawal to help. On Monday, Mr. Dorsey made the handover complete when he stepped down as chief executive and Mr. Agrawal,37, was named Twitter’s new leader. Mr. Agrawal, the chief technology officer since 2017, is little known to the public, with even some Twitter insiders saying they were surprised by his appointment. But behind the scenes, the India-born engineer has been a Twitter veteran and confidant of Mr. Dorsey’s who has been involved in many of the company’s biggest strategic initiatives. That made Mr. Dorsey effusive about his successor, saying in a tweet that the board had run a “rigorous” search for a new chief executive and had “unanimously” endorsed Mr. Agrawal. “He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs,” Mr. Dorsey,45, wrote. In his own message to employees on Monday, Mr. Agrawal emphasized his knowledge of the company and his kinship with its workers. “I joined this company 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees,” Mr. Agrawal wrote in the company email, which he also tweeted. “I’ve walked in your shoes, I’ve seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the wins and the mistakes. But then and now, above all else, I see Twitter’s incredible impact, our continued progress, and the exciting opportunities ahead of us.” Mr. Agrawal becomes the latest India-born executive to take over a major American technology company. Executives of South Asian descent are now at the helm of companies including Microsoft, Google and IBM, with many of them succeeding the companies’ founders. To some in Silicon Valley, Mr. Agrawal’s elevation was the definition of the American dream. “Wonderful to watch the amazing success of Indians in the technology world and a good reminder of the opportunity America offers to immigrants,” Patrick Collison, chief executive of Stripe, said in a tweet on Monday congratulating Mr. Agrawal. Yet as Twitter’s new chief, Mr. Agrawal has his work cut out for him. The company, which is based in San Francisco, faces challenges, such as placating activist investors and calming an agitated Congress about its power, divisiveness and potential to censor free speech. Mr. Agrawal is also charged with carrying out Mr.

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