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Anthony Noto Sees 'Magnitude of Opportunity' in Twitter's $30 Billion Valuation

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Anthony Noto was preparing for life on the buy side after a decade as a research analyst at Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) and a stint running the firm's technology investment banking group. Then a $30 billion opportunity came knocking -- a job as Twitter's (TWTR - Get Report)  new chief financial officer that came with "so much growth and opportunity" it was impossible for him to pass up.

Noto on Wednesday cited the "magnitude of opportunity" ahead of Twitter, even after a 2013 initial public offering that valued the company around $30 billion as the reason he decided to take a job as the company's chief financial officer just months after joining tech-focused hedge fund Coatue Management. Noto's comments, made at a conference hosted by Citigroup, underscored his belief that Twitter is just beginning to grow and monetize its user base, while also launching new media and advertising products in the U.S. and internationally. 

"It is very rare to see a company with circa a $30 billion dollar market capitalization with so much growth and opportunity ahead of it relative to what it has accomplished," Noto said on Wednesday when asked to explain why he joined Twitter.

"I think it is very rare to get to a $30 billion valuation and still have so many innings ahead of them in terms of user growth, in terms of monetization opportunities, geographic expansion and product expansion," Noto added.

At Goldman Sachs, Noto was the lead banker who worked with Twitter and its CEO Dick Costolo as the company listed on the New York Stock Exchange last November.

Noto said Wednesday that Twitter's IPO process deepened a four-year relationship he'd built with the company and Costolo after returning to Goldman from a stint as the CFO of the National Football League. Working closely with Twitter gave Noto the impression that the company was open to change and still early on in capitalizing on opportunities to improve internally, and in growing externally to be the most watched information network in the world.

"[T]here is an incredible openness to take Twitter to the next chapter," Noto said. About being approached for the finance chief role, Noto said Twitter "was looking for that type of structure and a planning process and it was very welcoming to have people that were so open given something that is already so big."

Change Ahead

While Noto's impact may be immediately felt in the company's corporate structure, its planning process and its allocation of resources, it also appears the incoming CFO will play a large role in shaping Twitter's growth strategy.

Noto said he sees four key pillars for change at Twitter centering on increasing the richness of content on the micro-blogging site, especially internationally, while also improving relevance, search and user onboarding experiences. On Wednesday, Noto further hinted that Twitter will continue to tweak its timelines, perhaps, in a manner that drifts slightly from the chronological stream that users are accustomed to.

Twitter is looking at changes to timelines that include putting non-chronological but highly specified and relevant information in front of users. For instance, if a Red Sox fan goes to sleep before the final pitch, Twitter may have a way to get the box score in front of that user the next morning.

Search also is a priority for Noto. He said on Wednesday that top executives across Twitter's business lines are focused on search, and there is a greenfield opportunity for the company to build new tools and functions. "There are many other things we could do," Noto said of Twitter's search capability.

Until Twitter came knocking, Noto was preparing to move into a career searching for investment opportunities in the tech sector. Ultimately, he traded it in for a role in building Twitter beyond its current $30 billion market value.

Twitter shares were rising over 1% on Thursday morning. Shares have gained over 50% in the past three months, after a post-IPO selloff.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

Follow @AntoineGara

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