Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced the departure of two of his top executives Thursday, a shake-up that is likely to deepen internal chaos in the months before Elon Musk completes a takeover of the social media company.
In a companywide e-mail obtained by The Washington Post, Agrawal said he was replacing Kayvon Beykpour and Bruce Falck, who oversaw Twitter’s consumer and revenue products, including engineering, customer service, and operations. Agrawal had just elevated Beykpour and Falck in a major reorganization in December, right after he took over as CEO.
“It’s critical to have the right leaders at the right time,” Agrawal wrote in the e-mail.
Agrawal said he was replacing the two executives with Jay Sullivan, an executive who will lead both consumer and revenue products on an interim basis. Sullivan has defended Musk’s takeover of Twitter, according to internal messages obtained by The Washington Post.
“Elon truly believes in the power of Twitter and its importance in the world,” Sullivan told colleagues last month.
Twitter says that Sullivan previously was a “vice president for product” and that Kelley had no comment on whether Sullivan’s promotion was related to his support for Musk.
In his memo, Agrawal added that Twitter was pausing hiring and would reconsider existing job offers, part of cost-cutting that was necessary because of the company missing “audience and revenue” targets and being impacted by the market downturn and other “macroeconomic” forces.
Twitter has long been known for management chaos and high-profile firings. But Thursday’s moves are exacerbating fears of an employee exodus in response to Musk’s ownership, two people familiar with internal discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters, told The Post.
In a tweet Thursday, Beykpour indicated that he was fired. “The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision,” Beykpour wrote, adding that Agrawal wanted “to take the team in a different direction.”
Twitter spokesperson Liz Kelley confirmed that the two executives are leaving the company. She also confirmed that, effective this week, Twitter will pause most hiring, except for “business-critical roles.”
The company will also be “pulling back on nonlabor costs” to “ensure we’re being responsible and efficient,” she added.
Agrawal’s December reorganization, which saw the exits of two other executives, placed Beykpour in charge of consumer products, Falck in charge of revenue products, and Nick Caldwell in charge of core technology.
Earlier in his career, Beykpour co-founded and led the live-video start-up Periscope, joining Twitter after Twitter bought the company prior to its 2015 launch. (Twitter shut Periscope down in 2021.) As a product leader at Twitter, Beykpour was known for moving fast, developing new features such as the ephemeral-tweet feature Fleets, which was discontinued in 2021, and the live audio chat forum Spaces.
Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter for roughly $44 billion, which he launched in April, is expected to be completed over the next three to six months.
Employees at San Francisco-based Twitter are generally liberal and highly vocal, and many have expressed resistance to Musk taking over the company. Others have expressed fears for their jobs, particularly if Musk uses his powerful Twitter megaphone to call out specific employees.
In messages in response to Sullivan’s defense of Musk, numerous employees chimed in expressing fears about the billionaire, with one noting that Musk’s “behaviors and ethics do not reflect what we stand for.”
Whatever the motive for the change, some Twitter employees said they liked what they knew about Sullivan and his plans. “He seems sincere to me,” one said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “He’s thinking longer-term, which I personally like.”