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Evan Williams: Twitter CEO no more

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Evan Williams (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

In keeping with Twitter's ethos, Evan Williams, the chief executive of the micro-blogging social media site, took less than 140 characters to announce the company's latest strategic change. He took 133 characters, to be exact: "I have decided to ask our COO, Dick Costolo, to become Twitter's CEO. Starting today, I'll be completely focused on product strategy."

Williams, who co-founded the site, has demoted himself to a simple "co-founder" title. He says on the official Twitter blog that in the two years of his tenure as chief executive, the site has gone from 20 employees to about 300 and from about 1.25 million tweets a day to about 90 million a day.

Dick Costolo founded Feedburner, which was purchased by Google in 2007. According to TechStars, Costolo previously co-founded Spyonit and Burning Door Networked Media. He joined Twitter last year as COO.

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Dick Costolo (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Williams brought Costolo in to help Twitter make money. The company has been focused on profitability for the past year, introducing promoted tweets as a revenue stream and launching a new Twitter interface to keep its users on its site.

The move to make Costolo chief executive seems to be further reiteration that the site's main focus now is turning a profit. Williams hints at that in his resignation letter: "Growing big is not success, in itself. Success to us means meeting our potential as a profitable company that can retain its culture and user focus while having a positive impact on the world."

Twitter's other co-founder, Biz Stone, tweeted this summation:

Our #newtwitter was designed to be easier, faster, and richer but our #newtwitterceo is faster, older, and balder! http://bit.ly/98L66Jless than a minute ago via web

Updated, 4:00 p.m.

Here's Dick Costolo speaking last week about the future of Twitter with Abbey Klaassen of AdAge at the IAB Mixx conference.

By Melissa Bell  | October 4, 2010; 3:37 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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