For someone who is now at the helm of one of the largest social networks in the world, Parag Agrawal has an amazing personality. The new Twitter CEO rarely tweets, sometimes goes several months without posting on the platform, and oftentimes chooses to retweet someone else instead of sharing anything personal.
Instead, the Indian-American tech remained under outgoing co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, who Agrawal should now take the spotlight on as president of the $37 billion company.
The first time many people heard Agrawal’s name was in Dorsey’s farewell email to employees, which was shared on Twitter. Dorsey wrote that his colleague had been “his choice for a while because of how deeply he understood the company and its needs,” and offered some insights into his character.
“He is curious, inquisitive, rational, creative, demanding, self-aware, and down-to-earth,” wrote Dorsey. “He leads with heart and soul, and I learn from him daily. My trust in him as our CEO is very deep.”
After studying computer science and engineering in Mumbai, Agrawal moved to the United States to pursue his Ph.D. at Stanford University in California, before completing stints at AT&T, Microsoft and Yahoo labs.
It has been a steady rise to the top for Agrawal, who joined Twitter 10 years ago when there were fewer than 1,000 employees. Starting out as a software engineer, and working his way up to becoming a chief technology officer, just one step away from Dorsey in the corporate ladder.
In an email to employees after announcing his new role – which was also shared on Twitter in line with the company’s policy on transparency – Agrawal positioned himself firmly as a person of the people.
“Whereas it was a decade ago, I feel like those days were yesterday for me. I’ve walked where you are, and seen the ups and downs, the challenges and obstacles, the ups and downs. But then and now, above all, I see the incredible impact of Twitter, our constant progress and exciting opportunities lie ahead.
I want you to #love where you work and love too How do We work together to achieve the greatest possible impact. I realize that some of you know me well, some know me a little, and some do not know me at all. Let’s consider ourselves at first – the first step towards our future.”
The “Love Where You Work” message is one of the messages Agrawal has consistently championed in recent years, as well as the corporate ethos of #OneTeam.
The new president also thanked his predecessor for his “continuous guidance and friendship” and outlined his ambition for the company in the post-Dorsey era.
“Our goal has never been more important. Our people and our culture are second to none in the world. There is no limit to what we can do together,” he wrote. “Let’s show the world the full potential of Twitter.”