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Twitter to Dick Costolo in 2010: You're fired...sort of

"Hatching Twitter" reveals that the executive was briefly fired after a tense board meeting, just weeks before he became CEO, according to USA Today.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Dan Farber/CNET

Twitter's beginnings -- and its accompanying power struggles -- are becoming ever more complex as the details come to light.

According to Nick Bilton's forthcoming book, "Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal," current CEO Dick Costolo was briefly fired during a tense Twitter board meeting in September 2010 when he was still COO, just weeks before he was to become chief executive of the company.

USA Today revealed more tidbits from the book in an article published Saturday night. According to the book, co-founders Jack Dorsey and Evan Williams and Twitter's board were in disagreement about who should run the company. The board hadn't been pleased with Williams' efforts as CEO, and Dorsey was using that as leverage to try to find a new chief to replace him.

Williams apparently thought that the presence of Costolo could make a CEO search difficult, and Bill Campbell, who had been brought in as an adviser, decided to act on that, according to USA Today.

During a particularly fiery board meeting, Campbell "slapped his hand down on the boardroom table," walked downstairs to Costolo's office, and told him he was fired.

Costolo asked Campbell if he was joking, and then Campbell told Costolo to contact Twitter's lawyers to arrange a severance package, USA Today wrote.

According to AllThingsD, sources familiar with the matter said the firing was a temporary lapse in the board's judgment. The board reversed its decision soon after Costolo sent an e-mail asking about the terms of his exit. He never officially stopped working for Twitter, and by October he was tapped to become CEO.

We've contacted Twitter for comment and will update this post when we learn more.