Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's Job In Peril As Activist Investor Takes Stake Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey is at risk of losing his job after a powerful investor is pushing for change. It thinks Dorsey, who is also CEO of another company, is not focused enough on Twitter.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter's Eccentric CEO, Could Be Looking For A Job Soon

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The CEO of Twitter could be looking for a new job soon. An activist investor has been buying shares in the social media company and now wants to make big changes. NPR's Shannon Bond has the story.

SHANNON BOND, BYLINE: Jack Dorsey isn't your typical CEO. He's a dedicated yogi and is known for his extreme personal habits like intermittent fasting. Here's what he told Wired magazine in January.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

JACK DORSEY: I try to meditate two hours every single day. And I eat seven meals every week - just dinner.

BOND: Not long ago, he said he was moving to Africa for three to six months this year. But the most unusual thing about Dorsey - he's CEO of two companies, Twitter and also a payments company, Square. Now one large investor has had enough and says Twitter needs a full-time CEO.

Elliott Management is a big hedge fund without much patience for leaders who don't deliver. It's bought a sizable stake in Twitter and nominated four directors to the board, according to people familiar with the matter. Twitter and Elliott both declined to comment. Elliott is following a playbook it's used to force change at other big companies like eBay and AT&T.

MICHAEL PACHTER: Elliott is pretty notorious for being activist. And they're pretty accomplished. So their history has been to pick battles that they think they can win.

BOND: Michael Pachter is an analyst at Wedbush Securities. He says that even if Jack Dorsey ends up keeping his job, Elliott can still make its point and make some money.

PACHTER: The downside for them if they fail is they get the dialogue going. They get investors talking about how the target company could be significantly more profitable, and the stock tends to go up.

BOND: Elliott has zeroed in on Twitter because it thinks the company could be worth a lot more. Twitter is influential and popular with celebrities and public figures, including President Trump. But it just hasn't grown the way other social media companies have. It has hundreds of millions of users compared with Facebook's billions. And it brings in only a fraction of Facebook's ad revenue. That's frustrated investors.

SCOTT GALLOWAY: I think product development has been anemic. I think their business model is flawed.

BOND: Scott Galloway is a marketing professor at NYU and a Twitter investor until recently. After Dorsey said he was moving to Africa, Galloway wrote a letter to Twitter's board urging them to replace him.

GALLOWAY: But more than anything, the lowest-lying fruit here is to find a full-time CEO.

BOND: Galloway says he never got a response, and he sold all his shares. So far, Elliott and Twitter have had constructive talks, according to the people I spoke with. But this fight adds pressure on Twitter. It's struggling to deal with misinformation and how to handle abuse of users and trolls.

2020 is a big year. News events like the presidential election, the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the coronavirus outbreak should all attract people and advertisers to the platform. The question is, is Jack Dorsey the right CEO for Twitter today?

Shannon Bond, NPR News, San Francisco.

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