Activist Pushes for Removal of Twitter CEO

Twitter shares jumped on reports that Elliott Management is seeking to replace Jack Dorsey because he also runs Square.
Matthew HellerMarch 3, 2020

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Twitter shares jumped Monday on news that activist investor Elliott Management is pushing for changes at the company, including the possible removal of CEO Jack Dorsey.

Cciting a person familiar with the matter, CNBC said Elliott has nominated four new Twitter board members and its founder, billionaire investor Paul Singer, is seeking to replace Dorsey because he also runs payments company Square.

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Elliott’s message “is that Twitter will be worth more if it had a full-time CEO, and that the CEO should likely not be Jack Dorsey,” Recode said.

The hedge fund, which owns a $1 billion stake in Twitter, has a history of advocating leadership changes at companies like AT&T and eBay. It is open to the possibility of Dorsey remaining at Twitter as long as he is willing to give up his other job at Square, CNN reported.

In trading Monday, Twitter shares rose 7.9% to $35.82 as investors appeared to react positively to the possibility of changes at the social media giant.

Michael Levine, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group, said he sees a “high” chance of Elliott replacing Dorsey and obtaining four board seats. But Recode said it was was unclear “why Elliott would go after Dorsey now, since he’s had both jobs for more than four years.

“Twitter stock has lurched around during that timespan but is a bit higher today than it was a year ago,” the publication noted. “The company also seems to be making headway on its plan to concentrate on getting Twitter’s user base to spend more time with the service, and to turn that engagement into advertising revenue.”

Dorsey may also have unnerved investors by announcing in December that he would spend up to six months living in Africa this year to better understand the continent’s fintech revolution.

“Elliott doesn’t seem focused so much on ousting an eccentric CEO but, more generally, on boosting Twitter’s stock price,” Recode said.