Twitter announces hiring freeze as two top executives leave

Twitter announced the departure of two top leaders in a major shakeup that comes as billionaire Elon Musk is working to close a $44bn deal to acquire the company.

In an email to employees on Thursday, chief executive Parag Agrawal said Twitter’s leaders for consumer product and revenue will leave the company. Agrawal said the company was temporarily pausing hiring, and would review all existing job offers to determine whether any “should be pulled back”.

Agrawal said Twitter was not able to hit user growth and revenue milestones to maintain confidence that it could reach aggressive growth targets it had set in 2020.

“We need to continue to be intentional about our teams, hiring and costs,” Agrawal wrote.

Catherine Hill, a spokeswoman from Twitter confirmed by email the two employees would be leaving the company.

“We are pulling back on non-labor costs to ensure we are being responsible and efficient,” she added. “Effective this week, we are pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles.”

Among the departures are the social media platform’s head of consumer product, Kayvon Beykpour, and head of revenue, Bruce Falck. Both executives confirmed their exits on Thursday morning on Twitter. Beykpour said he was informed he would be terminated while on paternity leave.

“The truth is that this isn’t how and when I imagined leaving Twitter, and this wasn’t my decision,” he said in a tweet. “Parag asked me to leave after letting me know that he wants to take the team in a different direction.”

Falck was also fired, according to a tweet that has since been deleted. His Twitter bio now says “unemployed”.

Agrawal had installed both the executives in those roles in a reorganization of the company when he took over as chief executive officer in December, after founder Jack Dorsey stepped down from the role.

The departures come as the tech industry grapples with a slowdown following explosive growth amid the pandemic, which sent many workplaces online. Facebook parent company Meta also is “slowing growth” in hiring, it confirmed Wednesday, after difficult earnings reports in recent quarters.

Musk’s decision to buy Twitter has raised concerns with investors and employees over the future of the company. Twitter shares fell to $46 on Thursday, well below the purchase price Musk agreed to of $54.20.

On his personal account, where he has 92.5 million followers, Musk has mused about creating a subscription model for the social media platform, verifying all users, and returning the homepage to a chronological timeline from its current algorithmic feed.

Twitter’s reorganization could also create some financial cushion should Musk choose to back out of the deal, which will take months to finalize. The executive could still walk away from the purchase, though he would be required to pay a $1bn fee to do so. Musk is worth more than $220bn.

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