- Jack Dorsey will remain Twitter’s CEO after reaching deal with activist investor.
- Elliott Management sought to oust the CEO and co-founder from the top job.
- Dorsey—also CEO of Square—is a big proponent of Bitcoin.
Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
Activist investment firm Elliott Management made some noise over the last couple weeks, calling for the replacement of Twitter CEO and Bitcoin enthusiast Jack Dorsey after acquiring a 4% stake in the company. But today, Twitter announced a partnership with the firm that will see the social media giant undertake other changes while keeping Dorsey at the top.
The partnership is with both Elliott Management and technology investment firm Silver Lake, and will see Silver Lake invest $1 billion into the company. Twitter will use that money and additional cash on hand to begin a $2 billion share buyback program.
Twitter will also add one member each from its new partners to its Board of Directors, with plans to add an additional independent member to the Board. The Board has also formed a five-person committee to regularly evaluate Twitter’s leadership structure, including plans to “evaluate the CEO succession plan with the CEO,” according to a release.
For now, however, Dorsey stays. The original Twitter co-founder and CEO, who departed the leadership role in 2008 but returned in 2015, has been controversial in part due to his split focus: he is also currently the CEO of Square, the mobile payments company that he co-founded in 2009.
Dorsey is a major advocate of Bitcoin and decentralized technology, and his influence has been seen in the moves of both Twitter and Square. Square, in particular, has been a major player in the crypto space: its Cash App is a popular way to buy and sell Bitcoin, plus the company has a Square Crypto division.
Just last week, Square Crypto announced a new round of grants for bitcoin-centric startups. Square also recently invested in Transparent Financial Systems, a cryptographic settlement solutions company for businesses.
Twitter, on the other hand, sees a potential future in decentralization. In December, Dorsey announced the formation of a team of “open source architects, engineers, and designers” to help develop the future of decentralized social media. “The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard,” he wrote.
More recently, Dorsey—whose Twitter profile description simply reads “#bitcoin”—tweeted out his plans to live in Africa for part of 2020 to learn more about its mobile payments push. “Africa will define the future (especially the Bitcoin one!),” he tweeted in January.
Twitter has struggled with profitability, creating a safe environment for users, and the use of its platform for political manipulation—but for now, Dorsey still has a chance to address its woes as its CEO. And as his own personal interest in crypto and decentralized technology grows, we may see it manifest more and more through his companies’ future initiatives.