ST. LOUIS, Mo. – What’s next for former CEO Jack Dorsey after he leaves Twitter? The St. Louis native announced that he is stepping down today. He also happens to own another successful tech business that recently opened an office with hundreds of employees in downtown St. Louis. But, it does not seem likely that he will return to his hometown.
Jack Dorsey is succeeded by Twitter’s current chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal and will remain on the board until his term expires in 2022. Agrawal joined Twitter in 2011 and has been CTO since 2017.
Dorsey has faced criticism from investors about his management, particularly his decision to concurrently serve as CEO of another company he founded, the payment firm Square.
Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey founded Square in St. Louis back in 2009. They moved the headquarters to the San Fransisco Bay area in 2013.
Square’s newest office is now located in the former Post-Dispatch building in St. Louis. There are 850 employees that started working at the new location this summer. Will Jack Dorsey be one of them?
McKelvey has known Dorsey for over 30 years and they are very chummy. He tells Entrepreneur Quarterly that he will work out of the St. Louis office when he is here. The billionaire has several other projects going on in town like the LaunchCode non-profit, Made space, and the Third Degree Glass Factory. Although, he did purchase a multi-million dollar Manhattan apartment in 2018.
Dorsey has been active in St. Louis since moving away. He has been helping to remove blighted buildings from his hometown and is active in building up the tech community. In 2013 he returned to help small businesses connect with Square. He also returned to the St. Louis area during the 2014 Ferguson marches.
Computers and communication were a big part of Dorsey’s interests while growing up in St. Louis. He was born in 1976 and attended Bishop DuBourg High School. At the age of 15, he developed a computer program that helped taxi drivers and other fleets of vehicles to stay in constant communication. The program was used by taxicab companies for the next few decades.
Dorsey went to the Missouri University of Science and Technology and then transferred to New York University. He dropped out of college before getting his degree. In the year 2000, he moved to the San Fransisco Bay area to start a company based offering his taxi dispatch system through the internet. The idea eventually became what we know as Twitter and Dorsey posted his first tweet in 2006.
It is not clear whether Dorsey is coming back to his hometown to settle down. I’m sure that he would be more than welcome. Unfortunately, Dorsey probably won’t be coming back to Missouri. He has previously expressed interest in running for mayor of New York among other life goals. He also owns a $22 million seaside house in San Francisco.
Dorsey did not hint at what he will be doing next. But, he did share the letter detailing his departure to Twitter:
After almost 16 years of having a role at our company, from co-founder to CEO to Chair to Exec Chair to interim-CEO to CEO, I decided it’s finally time for me to leave. Why?
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being “founder-led.” Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founding and founders. There are 3 reasons I believe now is the right time.
The first is Parag becoming our CEO. The board ran a rigorous process considering all options and unanimously appointed Parag. He’s been my choice for some time given how deeply he understands the company and its needs. Parag has been behind every critical decision that helped turn this company around. He’s curious, probing, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and humble. He leads with heart and soul, and is someone I learn from daily. My trust in him as our CEO is bone-deep.
The second is Bret Taylor agreeing to become our board chair. I asked Bret to join our board when I became CEO, and he’s been excellent in every way. He understands entrepreneurship, taking risks, companies at massive scale, technology, product, and he’s an engineer. All of the things the board and the company deserve right now. Having Bret in this leadership role gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of our board
going forward. You have no idea how happy this makes me!
The third is all of you. We have a lot of ambition and potential on this team. Consider this: Parag started here as an engineer who cared deeply about our work and now he’s our CEO (I also had a similar path…he did it better!). This alone makes me proud. I know that Parag will be able to channel this energy best because he’s lived it and knows what it takes. All of you have the potential to change the course of this company for the better. I believe this with all my heart!
Parag is CEO starting today. I’m going to serve on the board through my term (May-ish) to help Parag and Bret with the transition. And after that…I’ll leave the board. Why not stay or become chair? I believe it’s really important to give Parag the space he needs to lead. And back to my previous point, I believe it’s critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder’s influence or direction.
I want you all to know that this was my decision and I own it. It was a tough one for me, of course. I love this service and company…and all of you so much. I’m really sad…yet really happy. There aren’t many companies that get to this level. And there aren’t many founders that choose their company over their own ego. I know we’ll prove this was the right move.
We’ll have an all-hands meeting tomorrow at 9:05 AM Pacific to discuss it all. Until then, thank you all for the trust you’ve placed in me, and for the openness to build that trust in Parag and yourselves. I love you all.
PS I’m tweeting this email. My one wish is for Twitter Inc to be the most transparent company in the world. Hi mom!