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January 8, 2024updated 09 Jan 2024 10:37am

Co-founder Jeff Lawson leaves Twilio CEO role

It's all change at the top for the cloud communications vendor, with a new board chair also appointed.

By Matthew Gooding

Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson has left his role as CEO of the cloud communications software company. Lawson, who has been replaced by Khozema Shipchandler, has also left the company’s board of directors.

Twilio’s co-founder has left the business after stepping from his role as CEO. (Photo by T. Schneider/Shutterstock)

The CEO had been under pressure amid slowing sales, with investors reportedly angling for the company to be sold and taken in a new direction. Twilio has also announced Jeff Epstein, a member of the Twilio board and lead independent director since 2017, will take on the role of company chair.

Twilio appoints new CEO

Shipchandler has been with Twilio since 2018, joining the company as CFO and most recently occupying the role of president of its communications division. He previously spent 20 years in various years at engineering company GE.

“Khozema is a proven leader and the right person to lead Twilio in its next chapter,” said Epstein. “This appointment ensures that Twilio is best positioned to deliver increased value to all stakeholders going forward.

“Khozema successfully led Twilio communications over the past year, pivoting the business to profitable growth, in addition to having served in key operational and financial leadership roles over the past five years.”

Shipchandler said he was “honoured” to step into the CEO role. He added: “Over the last year and a half, we have implemented meaningful changes across the organisation to position ourselves for renewed growth and to drive operational improvements, optimise our capital allocation strategy and enhance focus and execution. We have a strong foundation, but we always have more work to do.”

Lawson departs Twilio after growth stagnation

Twilio was founded in 2008 by Lawson and Mark Simms, and its software allows businesses to send and receive calls and text messages from the cloud. It has built a suite of tools to compliment this service, incorporating a data platform and other applications.

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The company’s systems are now used by more than 300,000 businesses around the world, and it reported revenue of $4.10bn for the year to the end of September 2023. But its quarterly revenue growth has stalled in the last couple of years.

This has reportedly led to rumblings of discontent among shareholders, with activist investor Anson Funds said to be pushing for a sale of all or part of the business. The company will release its end of year results for 2023 on 14 February.

Lawson described building Twilio as "one of the most rewarding experiences" of his life. He said: “We launched Twilio in 2008 with a to-do list written on the back of a pizza box and 15 years later, Twilio’s platform handles over 1.7trn interactions a year on behalf of more than 306,000 customers across the globe.

"I leave Twilio in the hands of a capable and talented management team who have my full support and respect. Khozema is a great leader, and I am confident he will lead the company well. Thank you to every Twilio customer, employee and developer I’ve had the privilege of building with – I can’t wait to see what you build next.”

Read more: Twilio hack exposes Signal user data

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