The report was reportedly pulled from Nick Bilton’s upcoming book, Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal. It read:
At a tense Twitter board meeting in September 2010, Bill Campbell, who had been brought in as an adviser, slapped his hand on the table and said that it was Costolo who was to be fired [not CEO Evan Williams], according to the book.
One board member suggested they talk about it more, but Campbell reminded everyone that they were running a start-up, then went downstairs and fired Costolo to his face, the book says…Costolo wrote an e-mail asking what his severance package would be. But the board swiftly reversed the decision and told Costolo that he still had a job.
All Things D did some digging and confirmed the firing. “According to sources familiar with the matter, Costolo’s termination was a temporary lapse in the board’s judgement, and Costolo never actually stopped working for the company,” Mike Isaac wrote on Sunday.
But a source who has spoken with both Campbell and Costolo about it says Costolo was never briefly fired when he was COO — definitely not by Campbell. Although plenty of other frustrating things happened to Costolo at Twitter.
This person also said that while Nick Bilton’s New York Times book excerpt on Jack Dorsey was “completely true,” the report about Costolo’s firing was anything but.
When asked what really happened, the source believes there was tension between Costolo and Williams that may have occasionally reared its ugly head during 2010 board meetings. Williams wasn’t eager to be replaced as Twitter’s CEO, and to soften the blow the board made him part of the executive search process.
Williams didn’t want Costolo to become CEO at first, this person said. But another source says Williams warmed to the idea and eventually pushed for Costolo to take the CEO job permanently (the board had considered making Costolo interim CEO then replacing him with someone proven).
But Campbell’s firing of Costolo, the source reiterated, never happened.
Twitter declined to comment or clarify any details.