Parag Agrawal Post-Twitter

Following his exit from the social networking giant, here's what the Indian Tech executive is doing next

Dedee Droege

When Parag Agrawal became the CEO of Twitter in November 2021, he made history for more reasons than one. On top of earning the title following founder Jack Dorsey’s unexpected and sudden departure, Agrawal also became the youngest CEO on the S&P 500, one of the few Silicon Valley execs to rise from the role of software engineer, and, most notably, a future opponent of the one and only Elon Musk.

How did the Rajasthan-born technologist’s short tenure as CEO unfold, and what does he plan to do next?

Let’s take a look at Agrawal’s background, his leadership record, and what he’s been up to since his dramatic change of direction.

How Agrawal Became Twitter’s CEO

Agrawal was born in Ajmer, Rajasthan, to a senior official in the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and an economics professor at the Technological Institute in Mumbai. After winning a gold medal in the International Physics Olympiad during his high school years, he secured a coveted spot at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.

After graduation, Agrawal moved to the United States to earn a doctorate degree from Stanford. While completing the program, he took on research roles at AT&T Labs, Microsoft, and Yahoo. In 2011, he joined Twitter as a mid-level software engineer. By 2017, he reached the C-Suite level as Chief Technology Officer.

In the few short years before becoming Dorsey’s successor, he earned the founder’s trust, overhauled the company’s infrastructure, and oversaw the implementation of machine learning.

Agrawal’s 11 Months of Leadership

When Dorsey announced that Agrawal would be stepping into his role, Silicon Valley was nothing short of stunned. Before the hand-off, Agrawal had a mere 24,000 followers on Twitter. Now, he has nearly 600,000.

However, the buzz around Agrawal’s promotion was soon replaced by speculation surrounding his relationship with Elon Musk, who started purchasing stock in the company in January 2022 – just three months after the CEO’s transition. Musk became Twitter’s biggest shareholder by Spring, leading to what seemed like a positive dinner meeting between the two and Twitter chair Bret Taylor.

According to court documents, just two days before Agrawal announced that Musk was joining Twitter’s board, he sent Must this message:

“I'm super excited about the opportunity and look forward to working closely and finding ways to use your time as effectively as possible to improve Twitter and the public conversation."

Despite the positive tone, Musk didn’t end up joining the board. Instead, he engaged in a long, messy, and hostile $44 billion takeover, which was finalized in October 2022. Musk’s first leadership decision? To fire Parag Agrawal.

The latest news from Agarwal

Although Agrawal’s exit package is estimated to be as high as $57.4 million, Agrawal and the other fired execs are spending their newfound free time on lawsuits. The group, which is led by Agrawal, first filed suit in April 2023, alleging that Twitter hasn’t paid over the $1 million in legal costs it promised as part of the group’s exit. As of July 2023, the lawsuit was still pending with no updates from the Delaware Chancery Court where the case was filed.

In fact, Agrawal has refrained from posting any updates on a single social media platform since leaving Twitter – not even following the launch of Threads, which Agrawal’s former mentor Jack Dorsey eagerly commented on.

With Agrawal’s case against Musk still working its way through the courts, it’s unlikely that Agrawal will start a new business endeavor any time soon. However, Agrawal’s silence speaks volumes. If the innovator decides to re-enter Silicon Valley, supporters have no doubt he’ll leverage his defeat with Musk to create a competitive technology opponent.

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