Twitter (NYSE:TWTR)’s executive exodus could hurt TWTR stock investors further in the coming months, potentially also denting Twitter’s chances of turning a profit in 2017.
Patrick Moorhead, a prominent voice on the tech industry couldn’t have put it better when he said that Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has been a revolving door for executives. The list of executives who have left Twitter this year was already a long one, and it just got longer with the addition of two more names. The latest top execs to announce their departure, are Twitter’s CTO Adam Messinger, and VP of product Josh McFarland.
Adam Grossman of Middleton & Company highlights that this exodus is an indication that outgoing executives don’t think Twitter is anywhere close to turning the corner. It’s an explanation you can’t rule out, even though optimists may not agree. What’s almost certain though, is that these incessant exits will hurt investors, not just in terms of the negative sentiment they fuel, but also in terms of the financial ramifications that come with these seemingly endless exits.
Who’s Leaving This Time, And Why You Should Care
The exit of ex-COO Adam Bain in November, who was seen by some as “the most competent person at Twitter“ (1), seems to have sparked off a fresh round of exits at the company. Bain, who was credited with building Twitter’s multi-billion Dollar advertising business, had been with the company for close to 6 years, and was seen by some as ex-CEO Dick Costolo’s successor, after the latter’s controversial exit. Less than a month after Bain’s exit, Twitter’s VP of global online sales, Richard Alfonsi announced his departure. McFarland, who announced his exit via a string of tweets earlier today, was heading advertising product development. Quoting from a report on the NY Times.
“Mr. McFarland, who oversaw much of advertising product development, had joined Twitter in April 2015 when Twitter acquired his company, the digital advertising platform TellApart, for about $500 million. Mr. McFarland was a rising star at Twitter; he was respected for being decisive and willing to have hard conversations, former Twitter employees said.”
It’s not very clear how the hierarchy goes at Twitter, but it’s possible that Twitter’s decision to hire Keith Coleman – who had tweeted just 143 times before being elevated to the post of Twitter’s head of product – led to the departure of McFarland, who was also a VP of product at the microblogging site. Not to question the wisdom, but the sequence of events does sound oddly funny, as described by Nick Statt on The Verge:
“Despite being the chief of a tech startup, Coleman has tweeted just 143 times. That would be reasonable if he hadn’t joined Twitter in June of 2007. In fact, there’s about a seven-year gap in his timeline, starting in November of 2007 and lasting until a retweet of The Verge’s own Walt Mossberg in 2014. It’s followed by a second retweet and then another two tweets in the entirety of 2015.”
Ironically, both Coleman and McFarland joined Twitter by virtue of its acquisitions. The other exec to exit Twitter, CTO Adam Messinger, will be replaced by the company’s VP of engineering Edward Ho, who until recently, was also intermittently handling the post that Coleman eventually filled up. (Also See: Don’t Sell TWTR Stock, But Do Read This)