From IIT-Bombay to becoming the CEO of Twitter, here's Parag Agrawal's journey to the top
Parag joins the ranks of the many Indian origin leaders in the American tech world
Indians on the internet were rejoicing on Monday as Indian-origin tech executive Parag Agrawal was named CEO of the social media app Twitter. Former CEO and founder Jack Dorsey was all praises for Agrawal, in his stepping down announcement. "My trust in Parag as Twitter’s CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational. I’m deeply grateful for his skill, heart, and soul. It’s his time to lead," he said in his statement. Agrawal replied to him saying, "I look forward to building on everything we have accomplished under Jack's leadership and I am incredibly energised by the opportunities ahead. By continuing to improve our execution, we will deliver tremendous value for our customers and shareholders as we reshape the future of public conversation."
This is not the first time Indians have had a chance to celebrate as Agrawal joins the ranks of the many Indian-origin leaders in the American tech world. Satya Nadella serves as the CEO of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai heads Alphabet (Google's parent company) and Shantanu Narayen is the CEO of Adobe. Even tech mogul Elon Musk tweeted "USA benefits greatly from Indian talent!" yesterday in response to the news.
Agrawal attended Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central School) and IIT Bombay and followed it with a Stanford PhD and 10 years at Twitter. While studying at Stanford, Agarwal worked as a research intern for Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AT&T Labs. Until the CEO announcement, he served as the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Twitter. Agrawal is also one of the youngest CEOs in the world at 37 and one of the few hard-core techies to become CEO, a position that usually also requires business acumen. A statement from Twitter says, "Prior to being appointed CTO, Parag had risen to be Twitter's first Distinguished Engineer due to his work across revenue and consumer engineering, including his impact on the re-acceleration of audience growth in 2016 and 2017," The platform also revealed that he will be given annual compensation of $1 million as well as stock compensation worth $12.5 million as CEO.
But users have also been quick to dig up old tweets of Agrawal (who tweets from the handle @paraga) to find out more about his political leanings. In 2010 he made a comment against racism and Islamophobia in America. "If they are not gonna make a distinction between Muslims and extremists, then why should I distinguish between white people and racists," Agrawal said in the tweet posted on October 26, 2010. Questioning this, Republican Ken Buck, who represents Colorado's Fourth Congressional District, asked how users could trust Twitter's new CEO to treat everyone equally. However, Agrawal was quick to clarify his comments to a user. "I was quoting Asif Mandvi from The Daily Show. The article you are reading seems too deep for my current mental state," he posted. Tweets also reveal that he is a childhood friend of singer Shreya Ghoshal.
Agrawal lives in California with his wife Vineeta Agrawal and their son.