Twitter is appointing Vijaya Gadde as its new General Counsel after current appointee Alex Macgillivray has announced his plans to move on. The news came as a post on Macgillivray’s personal site and was shortly thereafter reported on by Mike Isaac at All Things D.
Techcrunch has confirmed both the departure of Macgillivray and the hire of Gadde with Twitter.
Macgillivray says that he is planning on dialing back his involvement with Twitter over the next few months as the team transitions to new leadership. “I’ll continue to support the company and its great people by staying on as an advisor for the legal, trust & safety, corporate development and public policy teams,” says Macgillivray. “I continue to care deeply about Twitter, the folks who work at Twitter and our tremendous users, so I’ll remain close to all three.”
Macgillivray was hired by Twitter in 2009 and previously served as DGC of Product at IP at Google. Gadde has been a director in Twitter’s legal department since July of 2011 and will now take on the GC role.
Macgillivray’s former post at Google had him going to bat for the company over its efforts to scan books. His move there was seen as a key ‘first amendment’ hire as Twitter began to be considered a platform for expression and came under attack from government agencies of various countries looking to quash or investigate statements made by users.
Gadde was formerly an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where Macgillivray was also formerly an attorney. Though Gadde doesn’t have the same bonafides as Macgillivray when it comes to first amendment stuff, she is apparently regarded well in the company and at her former firm.
In addition, from what we’ve heard, Twitter will be doing some shuffling of the legal structure as well. Its director of public policy Colin Crowell will no longer report to the General Counsel, but will report directly to CEO Dick Costolo on matters affecting Twitter and Washington.
All signs at the moment are pointing towards this being a voluntary exit for Macgillivray, who was well liked and respected. No one at Twitter is happy to see him go, as they might be with someone who wasn’t getting the job done. Macgillivray states in his post that he’s “looking forward to engaging my various internet passions from new and different perspectives, seeing friends and family without distraction, and just goofing off a bit.”
According to what we’re hearing, that’s essentially the core of why he’s leaving. Being the bastion of free speech at a hot target like Twitter can’t have been too relaxing or left a ton of free time to enjoy family. There’s also the fact that Macgillivray’s shares have vested after four years with the company.
As a bit of a going away present, Twitter officially won a patent case in the Federal Circuit court today which attempted to claim invention of Twitter’s messaging structure.
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