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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Stepping Down After 5 Years

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For the past year or so, Dick Costolo has been bearing the brunt of more or less all the criticism that's been levied against Twitter. When the site weathered a barrage of criticism for it's ineffectual policies against verbal abuse and threat, it was Costolo who made a public apology. When their (less than awesome) quarterly earnings report leaked and Wall Street's valuation took a nose dive, it was again the CEO who took responsibility. It's the kind of stress that would have some people re-enacting the end of the film Falling Down.

Thankfully, rather than going on a killing spree, Costolo has merely announced that he will no longer be acting as CEO. Costolo replaced Twitter co-founder Evan Williams as CEO in 2009, having previously been COO and since then he's presided over the site as it's moved into a larger, broader conglomerate with investments in tech start-ups and a considerable revenue stream. During his tenure, Twitter rose from a $1 billion valuation to over $24 billion. 

More recently though, things have been bleak. Despite having previously been one of the 3 most widely used sites on the entire internet, and frequently being the epicenter of discussion during large-scale events, Twitter is hemorrhaging users and its user base is utterly dwarfed by Facebook, as well as being edged out by Instagram, with Snapchat not far behind. It's in a strange kind of limbo at the moment, too antiquated to really compete with the newer, up-and-coming social networks but too small to really knock heads with Facebook or Google. In fact, there has even been talk of the latter buying Twitter.

This weakened resolve has led to a significant loss of faith among investors, and the slowing of user growth, combined with very little evidence of any further revenue increase in the near future has made Wall Street very critical of Costolo and his team. It isn't perhaps all that surprising then that most of the current top management for the site have only had their positions for about a year, following a massive reshuffle.

The decision to replace Costolo will likely be a bid (at least in part) to prove to investors and partners that the board are aware of their concerns and plan to take the company in a new direction. Co-founder Jack Dorsey is taking over the position, supposedly until someone else can be found, but he has stated that he would be more than happy to retain the position full time. The only other person to make a run for the job seems to be Snoop Dogg, whose reasons for being a legitmate candidate (listed under the #IfSnoopWasTwitterCEO hashtag) all seem to relate to weed, such as the character limit increasing from 140 to 420.

Twitter's future has never looked more murky, and whilst a management change is certainly a positive step, handing it off to Dorsey instead of making a real attempt to lend it some fresh perspective might do more harm than good. Costolo's popularity might have plummeted, but his entrepreneurial experience was absolutely instrumental in making Twitter what it is today.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Stepping Down After 5 Years Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, June 12, 2015 Rating: 5

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