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TOO MUCH STRESS

Parag Agrawal’s career as Twitter CEO could be over before it really began

Image of Elon Musk superimposed on headshot of Parag Agrawal
Elon Musk: Reuters, Parag Agrawal: Twitter, photo-illustration by Quartz
Who will be Twitter’s next CEO?
By Hasit Shah
Published Last updated

Parag Agrawal, one of a large crop of Indian-origin CEOs at major Western companies, appeared to write a farewell note as news broke of Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter on April 25.

Agrawal replaced Twitter founder Jack Dorsey as CEO less than six months ago, on Nov. 29, 2021. He was a long-serving engineer at the company, and had previously risen to the rank of chief technology officer. His future now looks uncertain, after a short spell at the top, with Musk likely to take the company private and bring in his own people.

Who is Parag Agrawal?

Agrawal was born in Rajasthan, northern India, and mostly raised in Mumbai.

He was educated at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and later attended Stanford University, where he earned a PhD in computer science in 2012. He had joined Twitter a year earlier, while still a graduate student.

When he stepped up as CEO, the company set his annual salary at $1 million, with a potential bonus of up to $1.5 million. Based on today’s Twitter pricing alone, Agrawal’s net worth is at least $26 million, according to regulatory filings compiled by Factset.

After Musk bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter earlier this month, he was subsequently appointed to the company’s board of directors, accompanied by a grateful-sounding note from Agrawal.

But it was Agrawal who, perhaps embarrassingly, then had to announce Musk’s rejection of the board role just a few days later, which precipitated his offer to buy the whole company. Agrawal will undoubtedly be in demand for a senior role elsewhere, should he leave, but the Musk experience may have been bruising.

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