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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Announces High Level Departures


In a tweet that was a lot longer than 140 characters, the CEO of Twitter announced some high-level departures at the company. Jack Dorsey's tweet came late last night and, as NPR's Laura Sydell reports, after months of falling stock prices.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Twitter has around 320 million users. That sounds like a lot, but not compared to Facebook, which has over 1.2 billion. And Twitter's user growth has stalled. It may not be a coincidence that CEO Dorsey announced the departures in a longer tweet. Analyst Tim Bajarin says there have been credible rumors that Twitter may expand the length of the tweet to compete with the likes of Facebook.

TIM BAJARIN: So one thing that could change their fortune is a loosening of that 140 character restriction. It would make it, I think, more of a social network than it is now as a news network.

SYDELL: Though it was the news of four high-level departures that filled up Dorsey's long tweet, the departures include executives in communications, human resources, engineering and the product division. Although Dorsey was a co-founder of Twitter, he only returned three months ago as CEO after Dick Costolo was pushed out. And he's still CEO of another company, Square, which he also founded. This doesn't give analyst Rob Enderle much confidence.

ROB ENDERLE: Most turnarounds fail, and that's with full-time CEOs. And he's running two companies.

SYDELL: And as Enderle sees it, Dorsey helped build the problem. Twitter was designed to attract users at a time when it was believed that users would automatically translate into revenue, but its design makes it hard to display lots of ads.

ENDERLE: It's very much like if you designed a car to drive around your neighborhood and then somebody said OK, we need to take it into the races. Probably wouldn't do well.

SYDELL: Still, no one thinks Twitter is going out of business. Those more than 300 million users are pretty dedicated. Twitter just might not be able to keep Wall Street happy.

Laura Sydell, NPR News, San Francisco. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Laura Sydell fell in love with the intimate storytelling qualities of radio, which combined her passion for theatre and writing with her addiction to news. Over her career she has covered politics, arts, media, religion, and entrepreneurship. Currently Sydell is the Digital Culture Correspondent for NPR's All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and NPR.org.