Who's On First in Twitter CEO Search?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It sounds like Twitter's (TWTR) board is getting it right in its search for the next CEO, but they are certainly sending out a lot of mixed messages.

This morning, the board issued a press release saying they're in the midst of a CEO search and that they'd only consider people who would be a full-time CEO for Twitter. As Dorsey is already CEO of Square, and has told Re/Code that he will keep that job, it would appear the Twitter board is ruling out Dorsey as a candidate unless he quits Square.

Twitter has always given the appearance of a poorly-run company.

Longtime investor Chris Sacca said as much in his long blog post published a week and a half before Costolo stepped down. More recently, Sacca criticized Twitter's CEO search, saying that so far it has been poorly handled.

Two weeks ago, when Twitter announced that Dick Costolo would be stepping down as CEO on July 1 (that's next week!) they named co-founder Jack Dorsey as interim CEO. He appeared, along with Cosotolo the next morning on CNBC, to answer questions, but instead drew more attention about the size of his beard.

During the interview, David Faber and other CNBC reporters asked Dorsey several times if he could possibly be the full-time CEO of Twitter. Each time, Dorsey deflected, saying he wasn't thinking about that now. The non-denial signaled to many that he was interested in the job.

Is today's press release meant to address Chris Sacca's latest criticism, just as Twitter's initial transition announcement came after Sacca's first blog post that was so well-received by investors?

I don't think Twitter's board is trying to follow Sacca's requests, but they are attempting to get back in control of the narrative around this search.

Dorsey clearly wasn't on the same page as the board in his CNBC comments. Costolo wasn't on the same page as the board, as he implied in his comments at the Code conference in late May, if he was going to be stepping down a week and a half later.

So who's in charge now of this search?

It's the Twitter search committee, headed by Peter Currie, but also including Peter Fenton and Ev Williams. Currie was the CFO of Netscape 20 years ago and advised Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2009. Peter Fenton represents venture capital firm Benchmark, an early Twitter investor, and Ev Williams is one of the co-founders of Twitter.

What's remarkable about the Chris Sacca posts and this most recent press release from Twitter's board is that usually this kind of stuff goes on in private. People come together, they get on the same page and they close ranks and move on. Clearly, something necessitated both Sacca and now the board going public with these views. They must have believed they weren't being heard by others internally and felt it better for the company to air it out publicly.

I have no idea what the problem is. Is it Dorsey? Is it a group of others on the board?

I suspect the search committee is going to consider a long list of internal and external candidates. I still believe Adam Bain, Twitter's Chief Revenue Officer, is the likeliest candidate to get the nod.

As a fan of the company, I hope they figure things out soon and close ranks.

 

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