GOODBYE RISHI

Twitter’s India head is leaving amid restructuring efforts

Obsession
Messaging
Quartz india
Obsession
Messaging
Quartz india

While Twitter is trying to establish a path to growth, its India chief quit.

Rishi Jaitly, who spearheaded the microblogging platform’s operations in the world’s second-largest online market, announced his decision to leave the company through a series of tweets on Nov. 1 (India time). He will conclude his four-year stint with the company in late November, a Twitter India spokesperson confirmed to Quartz.

Since last August, Jaitly has held the post of vice president of media for Asia Pacific & Middle East North Africa for Twitter. The company is yet to announce a successor.

The news of Jaitly’s departure comes days after Twitter shared a game plan for growth—starting with laying off 9% of its 3,860-person global workforce as part of a wider restructuring effort. The overhaul reportedly hit the sales team the hardest. In India, the cuts began before the announcement: in September, Twitter laid off 20 workers and shuttered its engineering-focused Bangalore office. The company’s Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore offices are still running.

Before joining Twitter in 2012, Jaitly was the director of the US-based journalism non-profit Knight Foundation. Although his immediate plans involve a temporary move to Chicago, Jaitly said he intends to spend more time in India and Asia on the whole. “I myself care deeply about the United States, India, emerging markets & intend to devote myself to building bridges in service of my mission,” he wrote on his personal Twitter account.

Jaitly made “Twitter the national zeitgeist for millions of users across the Asia Pacific and Middle East,” according to the Twitter spokesperson, and helped forge relationships with various media, sports, and government bodies to grow the site’s presence in the region. “We thank Rishi Jaitly for his contributions, entrepreneurship, and leadership over the past four years at Twitter. He was our first person on the ground to bring Twitter into the high-growth Indian market,” the spokesperson told Quartz.

Despite Twitter’s push in India, it lags far behind other social media giants like Facebook and Whatsapp. Out of India’s over 400 million online users, Twitter has managed to tap only around 20 million—compared to over 125 million and 70 million monthly active users for Facebook and Whatsapp, respectively. Less than 10% of Twitter’s total user base is from India, according to eMarketer.

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