From the Influencers

Can Twitter's C-Level Shakeup Stop the Bleeding?

January 28, 2016

The landscape is shifting fast at Twitter: the social media success-story-turned-sour has just appointed Leslie Berland as Chief Marketing Officer. Berland is originating this position at Twitter, which could really use a brand makeover. In addition to a plummeting stock price and investor unease, the company announced Monday that multiple execs would be leaving, too.

Here’s a brief recap of Twitter’s recent struggles: After the public and somewhat tense departure of CEO Dick Costolo in June, Twitter enlisted founder Jack Dorsey as interim CEO while they searched for candidates. After tearing through CEO prospects for several months, Dorsey signed on as the permanent CEO. Since then, the stock has plummeted 50 percent, Twitter’s monthly user base continued to decline, and the company has made bold moves to their platform. For instance, in the past few months alone, Twitter has released its own short-form video feature, and Dorsey has announced that he’ll raise the iconic character limit on tweets from 140 to 10,000. 

Now, Twitter’s c-level shakeup continues. On Monday, head of media Katie Jacobs Stanton, product chief Kevin Weil, engineering chief Alex Roetter and human resources leader Brian Schipper all left the company. These were high level executives, some with the company for multiple years, who left on seemingly amiable terms. But their removal suggests Dorsey is unafraid to claw Twitter out of its current black hole.

Part of his plan, it seems, is increasing the value of Twitter’s brand. That’s where Berland comes in. She’ll most likely be tasked with increasing Twitter’s user base and courting advertisers. That’s no easy feat, considering its stagnant number of users and increasing competition.

Twitter is hovering on a brink. We can’t call the company dead, especially given its user base and the broader, massive hit to the financial markets in the past weeks. But the company desperately needs to turn a profit, stay culturally relevant, and fight back against Instagram, Facebook, and other first-tier social sites. Appointing Berland as CMO may bring the company a step closer to those goals. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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