Ali Rowghani resigned as chief operating officer after a power struggle over responsibilities, said people familiar with the matter, in the biggest executive exit since the microblogging company went public last year.
Rowghani, 41, wanted to keep control over Twitter’s product vision, as well as operations and corporate development, setting up a clash with Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo, who decided to have more of those functions report to him, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations were private.
The exit illustrates Twitter’s rocky internal dynamics as it grapples with growing pains following its initial public offering in November. Rowghani’s job entailed helping Twitter increase members, yet the social media company has experienced decelerating user growth and has struggled to boost people’s engagement with the service. Twitter shares, which rose 3.5 percent today to close at $36.79, are down 42 percent this year.
“If you’ve got too many smart people opining about the same subjects -- perhaps in this case with Twitter about the direction of the growth -- it’s possible that you can have too many cooks in the kitchen,” said Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Nomura Securities. “There are plenty of companies in the Internet industry that don’t have a COO.”
Rowghani’s product strategy has also been controversial within the company longer than the past few months. After joining the company, Rowghani supported Twitter becoming more closed off from the ecosystem of developers who build applications on top of the service, a move that was opposed by some in the company’s ranks, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter reports Bloomberg.