SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has appointed Patrick Pichette, a former chief financial officer at Google, as the social network’s board chairman.
Pichette has been Twitter’s lead independent director since the end of 2018. This marks the first time in Twitter’s history that an outsider will preside over the group. He will replace Omid Kordestani in leading the directors as chairman.
Kordestani supervised the board and had more involvement with the company as executive chairman for nearly five years. He will stay on as a director, serving on the 11-member board alongside three new directors.
The move comes three months after hedge fund Elliott Management sought to oust CEO Jack Dorsey, pushed for improved corporate governance, and sought a higher share price. The two sides reached an agreement in early March that let Dorsey stay for now, and handed board seats to Elliott among others.
Pichette is expected to bring greater scrutiny of management and a stronger focus on financial matters to the company. Twitter’s stock price closed at $32.26 on Tuesday, down 12.5% in the last year.
Jesse Cohn, who lad Elliott’s campaign, Egon Durban, Silver Lake’s co-chief executive, and artificial intelligence expert Fei-Fei Lei joined the board as part of the deal.
Social media platforms have been under intense scrutiny lately over how they handle the spread of false information. Twitter and Dorsey made headlines by taking on President Donald Trump.
Trump has accused social media firms of bias against conservatives and has stepped up attacks on Twitter after it put fact checking labels on his tweets. Trump signed an executive order threatening social media firms with new free speech regulations.