Updated from 10:25 a.m. to include analyst comment in the third paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report continues to search for someone to become its CEO on a full-time position, and lots of different names are being mentioned as the company seeks to return to the days of heady user growth.
Candidates including Jack Dorsey, Twitter's interim CEO; Adam Bain, its head of revenue and partnerships; Twitter co-founder Ev Williams; and Flipboard CEO Mike McCue have all been mentioned. One name recently mentioned out of left field is Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report President Renee James. That, frankly, seems highly unlikely.
"This one really seems like a stretch to me," Jackdaw Research Chief Analyst Jan Dawson said, noting that while James was respected at Intel, experienced lies mostly in running divisions at Intel. "The only possible explanation for hiring her would be as a pure operations type CEO, keeping the lights on from a business perspective but leaving all the product stuff to others. But that doesn't really seem like what Twitter needs at this point."
Of all the candidates mentioned above, most of them have worked in social networking. James' area of expertise lies more in security, cloud computing and enterprise software as opposed to selling ads and growing a user base. Growing a user base, as anyone who has followed Twitter knows, is a very high priority.
"What matters here is new product and better viewer engagement and everything else is just a sideshow," TheStreet's Jim Cramer said of the Action Alerts PLUS holding. "The NFL deal could help that. The trust is stuck in it but it is now too late to sell. Five down, five up seems the risk reward."
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A report in theNew York Post first suggested the possibility James could get the top spot at the San Francisco-based social network.
Twitter needs a CEO who can figure out how to expand the company's reach to the near-billion-plus users who have signed up for the service and departed after discovering the platform to be difficult or not worth their time. The new chief has to attract and retain new users.
James, for all her credentials, has only tweeted 14 times, none since Jan. 8, 2015. That doesn't scream like someone who has an interest in helping grow the platform to what it could be.
Twitter ended the second quarter with 316 million monthly active users, up 15% year over year, but only eight million higher than the previous quarter. Excluding SMS users, the company added just two million MAUs, bringing the total to 304 million.
Intel announced James was stepping down from the world's largest chipmaker in early July to pursue an external CEO role.
Twitter declined to comment on the speculation, while Intel also declined to comment for this story. The most likely candidates continue to remain the aforementioned triumvirate of Dorsey, Bain and Williams, SunTrust analyst Bob Peck wrote in a recent research note.
"We think that with available candidates not having the full checklist of traits, that the most likely conclusion would be a triumvirate of power, with Jack Dorsey becoming permanent CEO (while continuing as CEO of Square), Bain becoming President or COO (assuming business responsibilities), and Williams taking more leadership on the board (perhaps chairman)," Peck wrote.
"It is difficult to think of a more likely scenario as: Dorsey has other responsibilities; Bain has never been a CEO; and outside candidates do not have the intimate knowledge of Twitter," Peck added.
Dorsey recently purchased 32,000 shares of Twitter (as did CFO Anthony Noto and board members Peter Fenton and Peter Currie), a further indication he is serious about becoming Twitter CEO, making an outsider choice very unlikely.
Twitter has been criticized in the past for having a lack of diversity at the top of its corporate structure, lending some credence to the speculation that its next CEO could be a woman. However, the company needs someone who understands the platform and is slightly more active than tweeting once every eight months.