Ali Rowghani, right, with Twitter Cofounder Ev Wiliams.
Twitter COO Ali Rowghani has resigned.
Rowghani, the former CFO at Pixar, joined Twitter in 2010 and was named COO in 2012. Last fall, he was put in charge of Twitter's product group, a key concern for the company, which has been experiencing a slowdown in growth the past few years. Rowghani's move, which the company announced Thursday morning, comes after Re/code ran a story Wednesday night that speculated that there would be a "shake-up" among Twitter's top execs.
In particular, Twitter had recently gave Rowghani a de facto demotion by having newly hired Product VP Daniel Graf report to CEO Dick Costolo instead of Rowghani. Another source of tension was Rowghani's decision to cash in 300,000 shares of stock for $9.9 million in May after the company's other top execs had vowed not to sell any of their stock. A fawning Wall Street Journal profile in April that described Rowghani as "Twitter's Mr. Fix-It" may have also contributed to the tension.
Twitter does not intend to replace Rowghani, according to an SEC filing. Rowghani will also "continue to be a Twitter employee and act as a strategic advisor to the CEO," according to the filing.
Goodbye Twitter. It's been an amazing ride, and I will cherish the memories.— Ali Rowghani (@ROWGHANI) June 12, 2014
@ROWGHANI Thank you for being an incredible executive & partner. Twitter could not have succeeded without you.— dick costolo (@dickc) June 12, 2014
Other Twitter employees were quick to praise Rowghani on — where else? — Twitter:
The departure comes as Twitter's growth has trailed in the past couple of years. Costolo had at one time predicted that Twitter would close out 2013 with 400 million users. The figure is now around 255 million.
After initially dipping Thursday morning, Twitter's stock price was about about 3% at this writing.
As detailed in Nick Bilton's 2013 book Hatching Twitter, Twitter's formation has been anything but smooth. An early cofounder, Noah Glass, was pushed out and, later, cofounder Jack Dorsey was also demoted from the CEO position in 2008. The discord continued in 2011, when Fortune detailed secret meetings, power struggles and "a board and top executive team that don’t always appear to have control of its wide-ranging cast of characters."
Rowghani, often described as quiet and focused, was seen as a stabilizing influence. During his tenure, Rowghani was credited with, among other things, using his Pixar contacts to build a relationship with Apple, driving Twitter's push into TV and attempting to make Twitter more of a mainstream service.
As CFO, Rowghani was known as more than a number cruncher, often taking an active role in other operations. Bloomberg report, Rowghani was also instrumental in an $8 million round of capital from DST Capital and others in 2011 and contributed ideas to Twitter's Promoted Suite of ad products.
This story is developing; more to come...