Twitter Searches For Committed CEO

Proceeding with “a sense of urgency,” Twitter has retained executive search firm Spencer Stuart to help find its next CEO, the social giant said Monday. Twitter also said that its search committee “will only consider candidates … who are in a position to make a full-time commitment to Twitter.”

The statement is being widely interpreted as an allusion to cofounder Jack Dorsey, who will serve as Twitter’s interim CEO when its current head, Dick Costolo, departs on July 1.

Dorsey is currently CEO of Square, the mobile payment and merchant services start-up he co-founded in 2009. Unless Dorsey is ready to walk away from Square, his use to the board is limited.

“We are looking for a bold thinker and proven leader capable of helping Twitter fully capitalize on its unique platform,” according to Peter Currie, the company’s lead independent director and chairman of the search committee. In a statement, Currie made clear: “We … believe much more can be done to realize Twitter's enormous unmet long-term potential.”

Amid a steady drumbeat of direct criticism -- and general concern for Twitter’s future -- Costolo said he would step down, earlier this month.

According to Dorsey, Twitter needs a leader who lives and breaths the microblogging service. “We’re looking for someone who uses and loves the product,” he said during a recent conference call with analysts.

Long criticized for its poor management decisions, Twitter’s problems only appear to be getting worse.   

In late April, Costolo blamed disappointing first-quarter earnings on “lower-than-expected contribution from some of our newer direct-response [ad] products.” Worse yet, he said the company expected the problems to persist for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Revenue for the first quarter was $436 million. While up 74% year-over-year, this was lower than analysts’ estimates of about $457 million.

On the bright side, along with the early success of Periscope -- the live-streaming app it bought earlier this year -- Twitter is putting the finishing touches on a new real-time feature that will aggregate all the media associated with particular events.

Dubbed Project Lightning, the forthcoming feature will live at the center of the menu bar on Twitter’s mobile app, and include text, photos and video -- including content from Vine and Periscope. The service will also be embeddable anywhere, on the Web as well as third-party apps.

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