Yet more changes afoot for Twitter as the social network continues its big turnaround effort. A day after the social network announced a large round of layoffs under its new CEO Jack Dorsey, it has now appointed a new executive chairman: Omid Kordestani, poaching him from Google, where was the company’s chief business officer.
Kordestani is a long time Googler who had been the chief business officer at Google for just over a year, taking over from Nikesh Arora after the latter exec left for Softbank. More recently, however, it looks like he took a step back from having a central role at the company. When Google made its Alphabet split this past summer, his chief business officer role was eliminated and he quietly became an advisor to Alphabet and Google without a specific title.
This means that it’s unlikely for Google to announce a replacement for Kordestani. Google declined to comment on whether it would be replacing Kordestani in any way.
Kordestani’s appointment to the chairman’s role at Twitter is symbolic. Kordestani had been at Google since 1999 — employee number 11 apparently — and is credited with being at the helm of the company’s first revenue-generating activities and as the person to have brought the company into profit for the first time.
And here’s an interesting twist: as speculation was ramping up in the last couple of months around who would become Twitter’s head honcho, we’d heard that Twitter had whittled the list down to two: Dorsey and someone at Google. It’s a very interesting coincidence that longtime Googler Kordestani today is picking up the chairman’s role.
Predictably, the news was broken by Jack on Twitter:
Kordestani, who as of the time of writing had tweeted all of 11 times since his account was started in 2012, noted: “Excited to work with
@jack, the Twitter Board, @adambain, @anthonynoto and the rest of the team to grow @twitter’s impact and business.”
As someone who held both executive sales as well as CEO advisory roles at the search giant, Kordestani will be bringing some strong commercial and business chops to Twitter at a crucial time for the company.
Google also underscored that idea in its official statement about Omid leaving the company.
“We’re excited for Omid and very happy for Twitter. Omid was instrumental in establishing Google’s business and helped us develop really close, longstanding partnerships across the industry,” a spokesperson said. “We wish him every success in the years ahead.”
Twitter’s stock and business has been on a roller coaster since going public last year. The turmoil and lack of growth prompted the resignation of Dick Costolo as CEO, along with many other executive departures. Some have speculated that Kordestani’s now-former employer might buy it, and others more generally have questioned the direction of the company. Now is the time for Twitter to double down to drive more growth and show the market that it is not just a niche social network but a large media business.
The news brings to a conclusion one detail hanging over from last week’s CEO announcement: Twitter had said that with Dorsey’s permanent ascension to the CEO role, it would be seeking a new chairman, a role Dorsey had occupied in a non-executive capacity while also running Square (which he continues to do at present).
Twitter’s stock, which got a bump on yesterday’s news, is up again slightly in trading this morning.