Twitter’s co-founder and longest-serving CEO Jack Dorsey handed the reins to former CTO Parag Agrawal on Monday. Here are five things to know about the new leader of one of the world’s biggest tech companies.
1. He is a leading force in Twitter’s decentralization projects
Agrawal oversees Bluesky, Twitter’s project to create a decentralized protocol for social media, which started in 2019, according to The Verge. The project didn’t make noise until this year: In January, it released an ecosystem review of decentralized social media. In August, Agrawal tapped Jay Garber to lead the Bluesky team, a crypto developer who worked on Zcash. Graber said Agrawal has been a “champion” of the team from the start.
2. He led Twitter’s migration to cloud servers
Twitter had been plagued by slow performance and difficulty in launching new features, in part because it ran all of its services and projects on its own servers. Agrawal compared Twitter’s tech to a “ball of hair” in a 2020 interview with The Information, a phrase he borrowed from Nick Tornow, a platform lead at the company.
As CTO, Agrawal spearheaded the platform’s migration to cloud servers. In 2018, Twitter migrated cold data storage and Hadoop clusters to Google Cloud. Two years later, Amazon Web Services announced it would be hosting Twitter’s timeline feature.
3. He is concerned about ethics of tech
In 2018, Agrawal was part of an effort to determine whether Twitter’s image cropping algorithm was racially discriminatory. Under his tenure as CTO, in April, the company launched a responsible machine learning initiative. Agrawal explained his thoughts on Twitter’s responsibility for content moderation in an interview with MIT Technology review, saying that the company’s approach “is rooted in trying to avoid specific harm that misleading information can cause.”
4. He has risen quickly up Twitter’s ranks
Agrawal started working at the company as an engineer in 2011, and became CTO in 2017. He was Twitter’s first distinguished engineer thanks to his work on revenue and consumer engineering, according to his bio on Twitter’s corporate website.
5. He doesn’t tweet much
Agrawal is not a big tweeter. His timeline is filled mainly with retweets and comments on company policy.