On Thursday, Twitter announced that CEO Disk Costolo is stepping down on July 1, and that co-founder Jack Dorsey will step in as interim CEO as the board of directors conducts a search for a permanent replacement. The way in which Dorsey answered questions following the announcement, however, leaves some room for speculation about just how interim his position will actually be.
For starters, he wouldn't just come out and say that he will not be the permanent CEO.
Business Insider asked Costolo if bringing in someone new would put a lot of pressure, stress, and shakeups to the Twitter team. Costolo replied that this would be true if someone from the outside were to step in, "but we have the benefit of Jack being chairman of the board, the inventor of the product, and a cofounder. He's already a visible leader within the company, he speaks to the company and in company events both in the US and abroad with some frequency. There's no one better than him to lead the company through a transition like that. He's close to my entire leadership team."
Business Insider asked Dorsey flat out if the "interim" is just a thing to hold us or if he's really just interim. Here's what Dorsey reportedly said:
"My focus is on interim, and my focus is on making sure we continue our momentum around all of our products and initiatives. And that we continue our pace of delivery and facilitating a smooth transition as the board conducts a search for a permanent CEO. We do have a search committee comprised of Peter Currie, Peter Fenton, and our cofounder Evan Williams, and we're going to take the time to pick and choose the right CEO for the company. I'm not focused on that question at all. I'm focused on making sure we continue our momentum and to amplify what we're doing."
Asked even more directly if he wants to be permanent CEO, Dorsey responded:
Again, I'm not going to answer that because it's not my focus, it's not what I'm thinking about; I have enough to focus on.
Similarly, he sidestepped the question from the Wall Street Journal about whether he would consider staying on permanently:
“It’s not my decision,” he said in an interview. “As Dick mentioned, we have a search committee running and they’re just starting their process and it’s not even something I’m thinking about. Again, I’m focused on making sure that Twitter is the most successful it can be and that Square is the most successful it can be.”
When pressed further on what he would do if the job were offered to him, he declined to comment. “I’m not going to answer that question because it’s not what I’m focused on,” said Dorsey, who is also the chairman of Twitter’s board.
Dorsey said he already spends his time at both Twitter and Square, which are located on the same block in San Francisco. But if he were to take over as full-time CEO of Twitter, he would likely need to relinquish his role at Square.
Dorsey did mention Square in the official Twitter announcement:
“I am grateful for the talented team at Square, which I will continue to lead,” he added. “We have built a very strong company from top to bottom, and I am as committed as ever to its continued success.”
It's hard to imagine that anybody is more qualified for the Twitter CEO role than Dorsey, which is no doubt why he's stepping in for the interim. Until either Twitter finds another suitable replacement or Dorsey flat out says he doesn't want the job, I expect he'll be considered the frontrunner (at least by the media) for the foreseeable future.
Dorsey was, of course, Twitter's original CEO.
Image via Wikimedia Commons