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Dick and Jack Speak: This CEO Departure Was Part of the Plan. (No, Really!)

Twitter to Wall Street: Remain calm.

Asa Mathat for Re/code

I just got off the phone with Twitter’s outgoing CEO Dick Costolo and its incoming interim (and also former) CEO Jack Dorsey, who were continuing to try to explain why the seemingly sudden resignation of Costolo was a good thing and part of a long-term plan of transition at the San Francisco social communications company.

“We have been having this conversation for a while and the only reason to do it now was that we have been building strength at both companies,” said Dorsey of the news that Twitter dropped today in a filing, about both Twitter and also Square, the payments startup he founded.

Costolo, who noted that he told the board that he wanted to go at the end of last year — translation: I jumped and was not pushed — echoed Dorsey: “I told them that I wanted to think about transitioning, which is the right thing to do when you have a strong team in place.”

In other words, this was planned and executed without a thought to the increasing pressure that Wall Street had been putting on Twitter and also Costolo in recent months.

It was a narrative underscored by some close to the board, although there were some conflicting sources insisting that Costolo estimated that the pressure from Wall Street and continued negative media reports were going to eventually lead to his departure and that he should orchestrate his own ouster before it was done for him.

Nope, nay, not, he declared.

“The timing for this is that it was based on having a robust team and a clear plan,” he said, ticking off his accomplishments from building the company from zero revenues in August of 2009 to today’s public company. “There is never a perfect time to do these kinds of things.”

Costolo also predicted that had he stayed when there was an active search got a new CEO going on, it would have been more damaging to Twitter. He also added that he expected that in such a scenario, the scrutiny of him would have gotten worse.

“We’re in the unique place to turn to Jack, the inventor of Twitter and its co-founder,” said Costolo. “And as everyone knows, he thinks elegantly and deeply about the product.”

Dorsey and Costolo said that they would also continue to have dinner together on Tuesday nights as they have been long doing and that Costolo would remain a close adviser and also board member at Twitter.

As to all the mass of criticism of him of late, Costolo said it was par for the course.

“As a public company you always are seeing scrutiny and pressure,” he said. “But no matter who is CEO we are not mortgaging the future in the service of short-term goals.”

Still, was he relieved to be out of the line of fire? Costolo slipped off the phone before I could ask.

This article originally appeared on

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