Patrick Pichette Named Chairman of Twitter’s Board of Directors

Omid Kordestani steps down as executive chairman but remains on the board

Changes continued on Twitter’s board of directors in the wake of pressure from investors Elliott Management and Silver Lake earlier this year, and this time, the change is at the very top.

Patrick Pichette—a member of the social network’s board of directors since December 2017 and its lead independent director since December 2018—was named chairman.

Twitter executive chairman Omid Kordestani, a board member since October 2015, will remain on the board as a non-employee director but step down as executive chairman.

Activist investor Elliott Management expressed concerns earlier this year about Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey concurrently leading payments platform Square, planning to spend much of the year in Africa (since scuttled by the coronavirus pandemic) and other issues including a high rate of executive turnover and the decision to shut down video creation application Vine in October 2016.

As part of a cooperation agreement reached in March between Twitter and Elliott Management, Silver Lake co-CEO and managing partner Egon Durban and Elliot Management partner Jesse Cohn joined the board, and Twitter said it would add a third new independent director.

That spot was filled in May with the appointment of Fei-Fei Li, the inaugural Sequoia Professor in the computer science department at Stanford University, as well as the Denning Family co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute.

Pichette has been a general partner at Canadian venture-capital firm Inovia Capital since April 2018.

He served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Google from August 2008 through May 2015. Prior to Google, Pichette held executive roles at Bell Canada Enterprises, McKinsey & Co. and Call-Net Enterprises.

Pichette said in a Form 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this week, “Given the strength and depth of Twitter’s management team and board, we believe that now is the right time to evolve our governance structure in line with best practices. Omid has been a valued member of our executive management and brought important leadership and stability to the team over the past five years. We are pleased to demonstrate our commitment to good governance and be in the position to make this important change. We look forward to continuing to benefit from Omid’s expertise on the board.”

Kordestani added, “It has been my great pleasure to work alongside Twitter’s management team and help advance its mission over the past five years. I have seen firsthand the significant changes Twitter has undertaken to strengthen and stabilize its leadership structure to achieve long-term sustainable growth, and I feel confident that I can now step back from my active role as executive chair. Patrick has been an important, independent voice in the boardroom and is the right person to assume this new role as independent chair. I look forward to continuing my work as a member of the board.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.