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Mon 25 Jan 2016 11:52 AM

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Twitter set to overhaul execs amid declining stock value

Tech company has failed to reverse slowdown in user growth, as shares declined 55 percent in past year

Twitter set to overhaul execs amid declining stock value
(Getty Images)

Twitter is losing a spate of executives and adding two new members to its board this week, according to people familiar with the matter, marking an overhaul at the technology company as its stock has lost half its value in the past 12 months.

Twitter’s head of engineering and chief of product are leaving after the company has failed to improve its site quickly enough to reverse a slowdown in user growth, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information was private. The product head, Kevin Weil, had been interviewing for other jobs over the past few months, according to several other people familiar with his plans. Twitter’s head of media, Katie Jacobs Stanton, is also leaving the San Francisco-based company, the people said.

Meanwhile, the company will add board members who can help guide it through a turnaround, one of the people said. The company has been looking to add directors since appointing former Google Inc. executive Omid Kordestani as executive chairman in October. Shares of Twitter slipped 55 percent in the 12 months through the close of trading on Jan. 22.

The exits will be the first significant departures from the technology company since co-founder Jack Dorsey returned last year as chief executive officer. The prior CEO, Dick Costolo, oversaw a slew of high-profile departures, including C-level executives and heads of product and engineering. Weil, for example, was Twitter’s fifth head of product in six years. The company also plans to announce the hire of a chief marketing officer soon, one of the people said.

Jim Prosser, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment. The New York Times and Re/Code earlier reported the management shuffles. The company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Feb. 10.

Dorsey’s plan for getting Twitter out of a growth slump depends on enhancing the product, making it easier for people to use and less intimidating for newcomers to the social-media service known for its 140-character limit. The company has made several bold changes, including adding a Moments section to compile the best tweets about breaking news events on the site. The departures of engineering chief Alex Roetter and Weil increase the burden on Dorsey, who is also CEO at Square Inc., an electronic payments company.

Weil, who has overseen Twitter’s product improvements since late 2014, has been in conversations with venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, for a job for the last several months, though hasn’t secured a position, according to the people. Jason Toff, the head of the video-sharing application Vine, also is leaving the company, the people said.

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