It’s a tight round of “Game of CEO’s” at Twitter right now as the board circles in on a short list of who might have the right stuff for the job.
So far we’ve heard the board is looking for someone who can focus solely on Twitter (and not some other *cough Square) company, is a heavy tweeter, and gets the product. There’s also significant interest to bring in a woman or minority to do the job.
Rumors continue to swirl, so we’ve put together a list of plausible appointees, as well as some wild hearsay for good measure. So sit back and enjoy our picks as possible successors cuz winter is coming – we’ve heard as soon as the end of July.
The current interim CEO may have stepped in during a time of need, or he may be campaigning for the title. We’ve heard this is a trial run for the once and current Twitter leader.
Pro: Jack has done this before. He knows the product and is a favorite of former CEO Dick Costolo.
Con: Aside from that wizard beard everyone is talking about; Jack is also the head of Square. We’ve also heard there’s a healthy contingent of employees who’d be very against this comeback kid. Don’t knock the two-company straddle, though. Product engineering lead Gokul Rajaram could get the nod from Dorsey to take over Square, should Dorsey want to assume the role at Twitter.
We’ve heard Warrior is on the shortlist for Twitter CEO. Cisco’s CTO is stepping down and we’ve heard is on the hunt for a CEO position. She’s also an avid tweeter. She would be a neat pick for the now public social networking giant and also fits the bill for both gender and diversity.
Pro: She’s available. She fits both ticks on the list for gender and diversity. She seems to get the product and uses it. She has operational experience. We’ve also heard she’s aware of the list and is interested in the position, though Warrior wouldn’t answer back when we reached out to ask.
Con: Warrior comes from the enterprise world and doesn’t have the consumer experience. The board may see that as a crutch to the growth and direction of the company.
Rumor has it at least one Twitter board member has tipped his hat to the man responsible for Google+ . Though Horowitz recently stated that Google+ is still ticking, it’s barely on life support at this point. Now would be a good time for him to jump off that sinking ship and into another social network.
Pro: He has experience working on another social network. Though Google+ isn’t what Google execs hoped and dreamed it would be, one could argue this was more of a case of jumping in too late to the social field. Twitter is an already established network that grew up at the right time and Horowitz experience could make for a good fit.
Con: Twitter is still a fragile flower in need of growth beyond journalists and celebrities. Horowitz may not have the experience the board is looking for to expand the market. Also, Horowitz mans Google’s photos and streams, an increasingly important part of Google Search.
“We aspire to do for photo management what Gmail did for email management,” Horowitz recently told Medium’s BackChannel. He isn’t likely to give up on that.
Multiple sources told us the current director of revenue and partnerships at Twitter was overheard *insinuating at Cannes that he was in the running for the job. Bain is well-liked among employees and we’ve heard the board may want an insider who understands the product to take over the company.
Pro: He’s familiar with the product.
Con: We’ve heard Ev is not in favor of show-boaters and though Bain didn’t come right out and say he had the job, confidently hinting he had the job may not go over well.
This is a weird one. We only include it based on a tip we got, but it seems very unlikely this would ever happen. However, we’re at least willing to entertain the possibility.
Pro: He has both the operational experience of CEO and experience running a large social network. Weiner started out as the interim CEO with LinkedIn and ran the professional social network since that time. Plus, think of the jokes to be had with the change from Dick to Jack to Weiner.
Con: The idea seems preposterous. Weiner seems well-situated and happy with his current position, but you never know.
Twitter board member Peter Currie is quite close to the Flipboard frontman, dating back to their days together at Netscape in the ’90s.
Pro: Mike McCue is one of Silicon Valley’s most beloved entrepreneurs. During the last boom, McCue cofounded the speech recognition company TellMe, which, helped by hundreds of millions of investor dollars, not only survived the dot.com crash but sold for $800 million in 2007 to Microsoft. Since cofounding Flipboard in 2010, McCue has again experienced ups and downs – good experience for an incoming Twitter CEO.
Con: McCue has never run a public company. Shareholders who already think the company needs fresh blood (and a new board) might not be thrilled, either. McCue was a himself a Twitter director for a couple of years.
This is another one we’ll entertain just for fun. Snoop volunteered himself as tribute for the role of Twitter CEO mere moments after the twittersphere exploded with news that Costolo was stepping down.
“Because it seems crazy, it’s exactly why Twitter should consider it,” Our Crunch Network partner James Altucher wrote on the subject,
Pro: Snoop is a big fan of Twitter and has been since early days. He also uses the product. Snoop tweets. A lot. Snoop also runs several business franchises, including one that sells these phone case lighters. And he’s clearly interested.
Con: The legendary artist has 25 years of experience in the music business, but nada in running a giant social network. There was also that incident in the early days of Twitter when Snoop and his posse came into Twitter HQ and proceeded to rap, blaze up and start a riot among employees while all the execs were away in a meeting.
As executive VP of Samsung’s Global Innovation Center, Eun is squarely focused on developing breakout software and services for one of the world’s biggest electronic and mobile giants. Twitter could use some breakout software and services.
Pro: Eun is used to bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Asia, a skill that Twitter’s new CEO could use to grow the company’s user base – and ad revenue – far more aggressively outside the U.S. Eun also has plenty of M&A and media experience thanks to past gigs as Time Warner’s VP of operations, as head of a strategic ventures group at NBC, as VP of content partnerships at Google and, going back a little further still, as the one-time president of AOL Media and Studios.
Con: Eun is well-regarded by his many past peers but he might not be high-enough profile to excite dispassionate public shareholders. Eun could also be hesitant to leave the comfy confines of Samsung. After all, Samsung still leads the worldwide smartphone market, with a market cap of $212 billion to show for it. (Twitter is currently valued at $23 billion.)
It’s still a mystery to some why David Sacks hasn’t hit the beach somewhere, but he hasn’t. In fact, late last year, Sacks, who served as COO of PayPal for years until its sale to eBay, agreed to join the fast-growing human resources software company Zenefits as its COO.
Pro: Sacks is one of the best-known entrepreneurs in tech, having sold his last company, Yammer, a social networking company for enterprises, to Microsoft for $1.2 billion in 2012. The same year, another of his companies, the family history company Geni.com, was acquired by a rival company in a deal that appeared to at least pay investors back. Sacks is also an active angel investor whose early stakes include Uber, Airbnb, and, yes, Twitter, so he probably understands the company fairly well.
Con: Zenefits. Sacks recently described it as “the most exciting company that I’ve seen that needed my help.” Twitter would need to get him even more excited about its own future.
As senior vice president of YouTube, Wojcicki is at the top of every recruiter’s dream list.
Pro: Wojcicki may be head of YouTube, but YouTube is still a subsidiary of Google. She might be open to the challenge of running an independent, publicly traded company. We’d guess she’d have all kind of ideas of how to spruce it up with more video content, too. Either way, shareholders would be over the moon.
Con: Wocjicki recently celebrated her 16th year with Google, which famously got its start in her Menlo Park, Ca. garage. She really seems to like it there.
All those Google products you use? Sundar Pichai, a senior VP at Google who is now broadly believed to be the third most powerful person at the company, probably signed off on them.
Pro: Pichai is famous for his fast rise within the search giant. Seven years ago, he was a middle manager reporting up to Marissa Mayer. Having been handed the day-to-day oversight of Google’s product portfolio in October last year, Pichai now oversees everything from search, maps, commerce, ad products and infrastructure to Android, Chrome and apps like Gmail and Google Drive. He’s also widely liked, according to many reports.
Con: Did we mention that he’s basically Google CEO Larry Page’s right-hand man? It could take more than Twitter has to offer to to induce him to leave.
Last August, Facebook descended on David Marcus, plucking the PayPal CEO out of his role of two years and installing him as Facebook’s VP of Messaging Products. By January of this year, Facebook had a new payment feature available to Messenger users in the U.S . It’s the kind of hat trick that Twitter – which has reportedly been looking into a mobile payment service for roughly a year — could use.
Pro: Marcus is a skilled entrepreneur who knows how to manage a lot of employees, as well as understands profit and loss statements and product management. Before becoming CEO of PayPal, where he oversaw 13,000 people, he sold his mobile payment company, Zong, to its parent, eBay, for $240 million in 2011.
Con: Marcus has described PayPal as a searing experience whose “real management” (read: bureaucracy) took him away from what he most loves, building products. He might not be willing, or able, to jump back into the frying pan just yet.
As Senior VP of Mobile and Emerging Products at Yahoo, Adam Cahan became highly prized by the company, which he joined in 2011 when it bought his then five-month-old company, IntoNow. In fact, after helping grow Yahoo’s 100 mobile users into 600 million (by his own telling), Cahan was asked in April to to lead Yahoo’s video efforts.
Pro: Cahan is a product guy who ‘s been successfully running growth businesses inside a company whose traditional business is declining. He has also worked in the past as an EVP at MTV Networks and in business operations at Google, credits Twitter’s board would surely appreciate.
Con: Cahan’s star has been rising in recent years, but, as with Eun, Twitter might need a more widely known executive in the corner office, especially after its strange and seemingly inept handling of Dick Costolo’s departure.
*Article updated to accurately characterize Bain comments overheard.