Twitter's Ali Rowghani bids 'goodbye' to COO role

Stalled growth at Twitter has become a point of contention, which didn't bode well for Rowghani keeping his place at the company.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read


Twitter's executive team is in the midst of a shakeup.

At the epicenter is chief operating officer Ali Rowghani, who on Thursday revealed via tweet that he's giving up his role in the company.

"Goodbye Twitter," he wrote. "It's been an amazing ride and I will cherish the memories."

The tweet would suggest that he's all the way out the door. But Twitter filed a statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday saying that while he's stepping down as COO, Rowghani will "continue to be a Twitter employee and act as a strategic advisor to the CEO."

Rowghani's change of status comes after Recode reported Thursday that Rowghani recently had some of his responsibility taken from him. Recode specifically cited product vice president Daniel Graf, who was formerly reporting to Rowghani and now reports to CEO Dick Costolo.

A former executive at Pixar who joined Twitter four years ago, Rowghani was brought on to help the social company with its initial public offering and to build out its user base. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had said in 2012 that his company, which at that time had 200 million users, would double that figure by the end of this year. It's becoming increasingly clear, however, that Twitter's growth has stalled and won't hit that number. As of this writing, Twitter has over 255 million users.

That has caused Twitter investors to question the company's future. Over the last 12 months, Twitter shares have fallen 21 percent. Things have been even worse since the start of 2014, as investors, worried about Twitter's growth (or lack thereof), sold off shares in bundles, pushing the stock down 44 percent since January. Twitter is currently trading at $35.54 -- a far cry from its 52-week high of $74.73.

Rowghani was reportedly called on the carpet for Twitter's lack of growth. He also came under fire for selling off $9.9 million in share profits, according to Recode. The Twitter executive team has decided against selling shares to show investors that they believe in the company. When Rowghani last month sold 300,000 shares, it was viewed unfavorably on Wall Street and in the Twitter C-suite.

What's next for Twitter and Rowghani is the next major question to be answered. It's unlikely that either side will say for sure what happened between them, and Rowghani didn't say where he might be headed next. Twitter confirmed that it will not hire a new COO and will instead assign Rowghani's tasks to other members of its management team.

CNET has contacted Twitter for additional comment. We will update this story when we have more information.