Who are Parag Agrawal and Vijaya Gadde, of whom Musk ‘freed’ Twitter?

Who are Parag Agrawal and Vijaya Gadde, of whom Musk ‘freed’ Twitter?

“The bird is freed,” tweeted Elon Musk. let’s take a look at the three top executives he sacked after the takeover

Billionaire Elon Musk took control of Twitter on Thursday and, on Friday, fired some of its top officials. Among those who got the boot were Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Parag Agarwal, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ned Segal, and head of legal policy, trust, and safety, Vijaya Gadde.

According to reports, Musk stated that he had “no confidence in the current management” of the company. As Musk tweeted on Friday, “The bird is freed,” let’s take a look at the three top execs of whom Musk “freed” Twitter.

Who is Parag Agrawal?

Agrawal bagged the plum post of Twitter CEO after its founder Jack Dorsey stepped down from it in November 2021. Agrawal, now 38, made news for being the youngest CEO of a Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 company. He was also one of the handful of Indian-origin CEOs heading US-based technology companies.

Agrawal was born in Maharashtra. His mother was a school teacher, and his father was employed in the atomic energy sector. After completing high school from the Atomic Energy Central School in Mumbai, he did his B Tech from IIT Bombay in 2005. He moved to the US to study at California’s Stanford University and joined Twitter in 2011 while still pursuing his PhD in Computer Science from Stanford.

Also read: Elon Musk gets a dose of Twitter ‘mayhem’ soon after he takes over

At that time, Twitter had fewer than 1,000 employees. In 2017, he became the company’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He focused on boosting footfall on the microblogging site and revenue. Since December 2019, Agrawal was working on Project Bluesky, an independent team of open-source architects, engineers, and designers, to prevent abusive and false information on Twitter.

Before the takeover, Agrawal had dragged Musk to court after the latter backtracked on his earlier promise to buy Twitter. According to agency reports, Agrawal’s total salary for 2021 was $30.4 million, largely in stocks. Now, after his ouster, he is expected to get $67 million in compensation, reports say.

Who is Vijaya Gadde?

Vijaya Gadde was another influential Indian-origin executive of the social media company. She was born in Hyderabad but moved to the US when she was only three. The Industrial and Labour Relations grad from Cornell University later studied Law at New York University. After working as a senior director in the legal department of Juniper Networks, she joined Twitter in 2011, just like Agrawal.

She oversaw legal and public policy, trust, and safety in the company. In simpler terms, her team decided on content moderation on the platform. Gadde, 48, often handled sensitive issues, such as dangerous speech and harassment, on the platform. In that regard, her role was often fraught with controversy.

The two incidents for which she received the maximum flak were deleting former US President Donald Trump’s account and blocking the circulation of a New York Post article about current US President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, in 2020. Musk was one of many to criticize the latter move.

Also read: Rahul hopes Twitter will now act against hate speech, not stifle voice of opposition in India

Musk had taken a jibe at Gadde for censoring the story, terming it “incredibly inappropriate.” In a tweet, he wrote, “Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.” Musk had also called Twitter’s permanent ban on Trump “a mistake.”

Musk, a vocal supporter of the Republican Party, is also a declared free speech absolutist. He has already indicated his plans to form a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” for Twitter.

Gadde also made big news in India when a picture of her, standing with Dorsey, holding a poster with the message “Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy,” went viral in 2018. She was forced to apologise in a series of tweets later.

She earned around $17 million in 2021, according to a Bloomberg Law report. Gadde is slated to receive a $54.7 million severance package, including the company shares she owns. She reportedly played a leading role in finalizing the deal between Twitter and Musk.

Who is Ned Segal?

CFO Segal was with Twitter for over five years. The graduate from Georgetown University served as Senior Vice President of Finance for Intuit’s Small Business Group and Managing Director and Head of Global Software Investment Banking of Goldman Sachs before joining Twitter in 2017. He is also a board member at Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat company.

Watch: ‘Bird is freed’: Musk takes over Twitter

Segal will receive $25.4 million, thanks to a “change in control” provision in his contract. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children.

In a post, Segal said he was “grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such an incredible group of people” at Twitter.

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