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Twitter's Dick Costolo replaces co-founder Evan Williams as CEO

October 4, 2010 |  1:31 pm

In a move that has been rumored for months, Twitter Inc. has handed the reins to its chief operating officer Dick Costolo, who replaces co-founder Evan Williams as chief executive.

Williams, who has run the privately held San Francisco company for the last two years, will focus on product strategy. He said he asked Costolo to take over.

"Building things is my passion," Williams said in a blog post on the company’s website.

Twitter is an Internet sensation that private investors have valued at more than $1 billion.

Costolo, an early investor in Twitter and a former product manager at Google Inc., joined the company a year ago to spearhead its advertising initiatives, which, he said in an interview with The Times, had gained traction. Twitter just rolled out a major redesign of its website, in part to make it easier for advertisers to get noticed.

Williams took charge of the redesign and Costolo took the lead in running the business, a signal of the personnel change to come.

Twitter launched four years ago. Today, Twitter users post more than 90 million updates each day. Twitter.com had 96 million unique visitors in August, up 76% from a year earlier, according to research firm ComScore Inc. Twitter has expanded to meet the demands of it users, swelling to more than 300 employees.

Making money is Twitter’s No. 1 challenge as its popularity continues to rise. Some advertisers, such as Virgin America, have had success advertising on Twitter, but others aren’t yet sure.

Williams took over as CEO in 2008 from co-founder Jack Dorsey, who now runs another company, Square.

Costolo is known for his business acumen and his sense of humor. When he joined Twitter in September 2009, he tweeted: "First full day as Twitter COO tomorrow. Task #1: undermine CEO, consolidate power."

-- Jessica Guynn

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