Twitter in turmoil: Does the departure of another top executive hint at trouble?

One pessimistic analyst warned that Twitter is 'toast' and that its shares are not even worth $10, partially because there are so many fake accounts on the platform.

Richard Drew/AP/File
The Twitter symbol appears July 27 above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In terms of socio-political relevance, Twitter seems to be hitting its stride. The microblogging platform makes global headlines daily as President-elect Donald Trump's soapbox of choice, and it boasts some 317 million average active monthly users. But that doesn't necessarily mean business is booming.

Despite its popularity, Twitter has struggled with stagnating growth. The company laid off about 300 employees, or eight percent of its workforce, in October, and efforts to lure a buyer earlier this year flopped. And a series of high-profile exits continued this week, with chief technology officer Adam Messinger announcing his departure – adding to concerns from investors who are still waiting for the decade-old startup to turn profitable.

Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research at Global Equities Research in Redwood Shores, Calif., warned in a note that Twitter is "toast," as CNBC reported. Its shares could drop significantly from their Tuesday trading close at $17.92 per share, he said, because it's "not even a $10 stock."

Mr. Chowdhry, known as a particularly pessimistic analyst when it comes to technology firms, argued that Twitter has "horrible" data quality propped up, at least in part, by the proliferation of fake accounts on the platform.

"If data quality is bad, ad targeting is bad, and if ad targeting is bad, advertisers are not happy, and hence monetization will remain challenging for Twitter," Chowdhry said. His bearish take stands in contrast with the $17.02 average target price set by all analysts, according to Reuters data.

And most analysts who follow the company say hold or buy Twitter stock at this price.

Mr. Messinger, who was tasked with overseeing Twitter's engineering, product development, and design, publicly exchanged expressions of gratitude with CEO Jack Dorsey: "Grateful to @jack for the opportunity and to my team for shipping," Messinger wrote.

Mr. Dorsey, who returned last year to the company he founded, responded in a tweet of his own: "I have learned so much from you, and appreciate everything you stand for," he wrote.

Messinger did not disclose where his next steps would take him. The New York Times, citing an anonymous source, reported that Messinger is not expected to move from Twitter to a social media competitor, such as Facebook or Snapchat.

In addition to Messinger, another Twitter executive announced his exit Tuesday. TellApart CEO Josh McFarland, who sold his company to Twitter last year, said he would leave for the venture capital firm that served as one of his main investors, as Recode reported.

The latest executive exits were preceded by chief operating officer and sales head Adam Bain earlier this year and six vice presidents across a variety of departments. Twitter's product team has had three leaders in less than a year.

Twitter stock prices have slumped 23 percent this year, giving the company an approximate market value of $12.8 billion, as Bloomberg reported. Shares traded as high as $69 shortly after its initial public offering in November 2013.

Moving forward, Twitter aims to "streamline and flatten" itself and will have engineering, product, and design heads report directly to Dorsey, a spokesperson said in a statement.

"I'll be working even closer with our engineering and design teams," Dorsey added in his own statement reported by the Times, "to ensure we continue to be the fastest and best service to show what's happening in the world."

This report includes material from Reuters.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Twitter in turmoil: Does the departure of another top executive hint at trouble?
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today