What a difference a year makes.
Last year, a newly-public Twitter saw its stock explode to $US73.31 a share. This year, the stock is stuck around $US37, and investors are talking about firing CEO Dick Costolo.
“The people who work at Twitter know the potential, and they know he is an obstacle to achieving it,” one major shareholder told us, after Costolo’s family trust sold shares. “He shouldn’t be running the company anymore.”
A few days later, Robert Peck, an analyst at Sun Trust went on CNBC and said, “We think there’s a good chance he’s not there in a year.”
Twitter’s stock popped 4% on Peck’s comments.
We reached out to Peck after his comments on CNBC. He told us that, “Investors are questioning if the company has the big picture strategy to be a leading edge digital media company.”
That seems to be the major issue for Costolo. In the opinion of investors, he has failed to articulate and execute against against a big picture of where to take Twitter. And that’s why the stock has tanked, and that’s why investors are cranky.
For what it’s worth, early shareholder Fred Wilson is supportive of Costolo.
“I have a lot of confidence in Dick. He’s a great manager and leader,” Wilson told us over email. Though he added some caution, saying, “I am not on the board and have not been on the board for a while now so I’m not privy to what is going on inside the company. I’m just an observer and large shareholder (personally) so you should take my comments as such.”
Costolo has tried to hone his message. At the company’s analyst day he said Twitter was going to be “the very best way to connect to your world.” He talked about three user groups: Logged in, logged out, and then syndication, which are just people that use Twitter through other apps.
He has also reorganized his executives this year, putting his team in place.
Basically, there is no excuse in 2015 for Costolo. He has his message, he has his team, now he has to perform. Twitter is going to have to continue to show revenue growth, and it’s going to have to try to get monthly active users growing. If that doesn’t happen, then Costolo is likely out.