Twitter, the beleaguered micro-messaging network that has become a standard communication service for about 320 million people but still cannot turn a profit, announced more personnel-related news Jan. 25.
The San Francisco-based company that laid off 8 percent (336) of its 4,100 employees last fall is now regularly shedding members of its leadership team.
CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey—in a Twitter note, naturally—confirmed Jan. 24 that four key executives—Senior Vice President of Engineering Alex Roetter, Senior Vice President of Products Kevin Weil, Vice President of Human Resources Skip Schipper and Vice President of Global Media Kate Stanton—"have chosen" to leave Twitter. Schipper has been reported to be moving to Google.
Jason Toff, head of Twitter division Vine, also has left the company, although Dorsey did not mention him in his announcement. Toff tweeted that he will move to Google to work on virtual reality products.
Re/Code reported that current Twitter staffer Nathan Hubbard will take over Stanton's media role on an interim basis and that American Express Marketing Vice President Leslie Berland is in line for the chief marketing officer opening.
Twitter Chief Communications Officer Gabriel Stricker had previously left the company, as did ad director Glenn Brown.
Dorsey (pictured) said in his announcement that Chief Operating Officer Adam Bain will "take on additional responsibilities" and that CTO Adam Messinger will be "taking over all the engineering and product design and research, user services and Fabric into one group."
First Red Flag: CEO Costolo's Departure
The first major red flag was raised last July 1, when CEO Dick Costolo announced he was leaving after five years on the job. Dorsey replaced him on an interim basis and then took the permanent job in October.
Vice President of Product Management Christian Oestlien and Director of Content and Discovery Todd Jackson both left the company last August, right after Dorsey took over the CEO duties.
To say that jobs at Twitter are in flux would be a massive understatement.
Twitter also announced that it is instituting two new seats on its board of directors, one of which will be a "high-profile media personality," the company said. No names were given by the company, but people such Oprah Winfrey, Michael Bloomberg, Ellen DeGeneres and Ashton Kutcher have been mentioned among media observers.
Stock Was at $51 Only Months Ago
Twitter stock was selling at about $17 late Jan. 25. The price was down 4.8 percent (or 86 cents) on the day Jan. 25. The stock, which was selling at $51 last April 7, has taken two large dives since then (April 29 and Aug. 25) and hasn't recovered. Twitter stock hit its lowest point ever at $15.52 two weeks ago.
Industry observers haven't been shy to put forth their takes on all this employment turmoil.
Brandwatch executive Will McInnes told eWEEK that he thinks the real news will happen on Feb. 10 when Twitter announces its earnings. Brandwatch is a social analytics platform used by more than 1,200 brands and agencies, including Cisco Systems, Whirlpool, British Airways, Sony Music and Dell.
McInnes, among others, isn't all that worried about whether Twitter will stay in business or not. Too many people depend upon its services; hashtag topics have become woven into the fabric of many cultures, not just that of the United States.
There's even a character named Hashtag (a faux panda bear) who is a regular character on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," one of the highest-rated television shows on the air.
"Everyone's knee-jerk reaction to executive exits is similar to Chicken Little's, but I don't think the sky is falling yet," McInnes told eWEEK. "Twitter is scrambling, no doubt, and the timing of this restructuring is curious as Twitter's stock is abysmal, but with all this, the company still has extreme confidence in Jack.
"He's only just taken the helm in October, and Twitter is still the best platform for real-time discussion and information sharing. In a time where stocks are down, it's better to be seen in motion as opposed to stagnant, and that is the image this restructuring provides."