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Hey, Chris Sacca -- Here's Why You Might Wait a Little Longer for a New Twitter CEO

Time waits for no man -- except when it comes to naming a new leader for the social messaging company.

Twitter Clock by @studiomoniker

Last week, outspoken Twitter investor Chris Sacca took to Twitter to complain about, well, the board of Twitter — specifically, what he considers the sluggish pace of its selection of a new CEO to replace Dick Costolo, who left three months ago.

“Headed into yet another weekend without a permanent Twitter CEO,” he tweeted, again supporting co-founder Jack Dorsey — who is now interim CEO — for the role. “Enough is enough. The board needs to act. They are running a ‘process’ yet there is only one person fit to run this company: @jack.”

Sacca’s tweets were numerous, reflecting similar disgruntlement among some Wall Street investors about the leadership question at the San Francisco-based company. It’s a mood that has been made worse by a series of analyst claims throughout the summer that the CEO appointment was “imminent.”

It apparently depends on what your definition of imminent is.

While it is certainly possible that a new CEO could be picked this week, as many hope, there was no selection made at its recent board meeting as many had predicted (guessed with no foundation, really). In fact, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation, the selection process could stretch into October, or even November, and be announced closer to earnings.

“This is a critical decision and not a TV show,” said one source. “The board is certainly not going to be rushed into this.”

Here’s one certainty: The lack of a CEO will zone out any other thing Twitter does as a public company until it is resolved, including a series of upcoming key product updates and launches.

CFO Anthony Noto will likely be peppered with questions about the CEO issue when he appears in a Q&A session at the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference this Wednesday, and there is likely little he can or will say.

And front-runner Dorsey must begin investor meetings about the IPO of his other company — payments startup Square, which he founded and where he serves as CEO — in the weeks ahead, where he will doubtlessly face even more questions. That is perhaps the most important pressure here, said one source, since Dorsey must have clear answers and set firm expectations for potential shareholders.

The only clues on the timing of the new CEO that the San Francisco company has given are indications to the media back in June that the process could take several months. Because Twitter doesn’t report earnings again until late October, it still has some time before investors get a chance to pepper executives on the subject over a public earnings call.

Two weeks after the initial Costolo departure announcement on June 11, an update from the board noted that it was seeking a full-time CEO. This caused many to speculate that Dorsey would have to make a difficult choice:

“The committee will only consider candidates for recommendation to the full board who are in a position to make a full-time commitment to Twitter,” the company said. “The search is proceeding with a sense of urgency, but the committee will take the time necessary to find the right CEO to lead the next phase of Twitter’s growth.”

In that same press release, lead independent board member Peter Currie said: “In our next CEO, we are looking for a bold thinker and proven leader capable of helping Twitter fully capitalize on its unique platform for the benefit of users, advertisers and employees, and to maximize value for investors in the years ahead.”

Currie is key to the process and perhaps the reason it is taking the time it is taking. A longtime veteran tech exec and an experienced CEO, the modulated Currie is someone who is immune to pressure, including angry tweetstorms and analyst grumblings on CNBC.

Sources said that he is committed to a thorough vetting of internal possibilities like Dorsey, as well as casting a legitimate wider net outside the company. One thing that is important, said sources, is to show that the board spent a lot of time and effort to make the selection.

“The company has already taken the hit of not having a smooth transition in place when Dick left, so the selection of a CEO has to be bulletproof,” said one source with knowledge of the situation. “It’s worse if this choice is rushed and not seen as carefully considered.

Sources added that there is at least one serious candidate outside the company, although not one of the names mentioned publicly recently. The names raised have included CBS digital head Jim Lanzone and former Cisco techie Padmasree Warrior, who is a list favorite of such searches conducted by Twitter’s talent firm, Spencer Stuart.

Nonetheless, Dorsey still remains the one to beat, said sources, and is now getting important on-the-job time to show the board he is capable of leading the company he was once unceremoniously ousted from. His record at Square is also being looked at as part of the process.

Twitter employees say that Dorsey is certainly acting like he’ll be sticking around; he has been very hands-on with certain teams and has made an effort to make the company more transparent, sending multiple company-wide emails every day to loop people in on big initiatives and how he thinks about the product, according to employees.

He also worked quickly to make changes to Twitter’s product team, reshuffling things late last month and putting former head of platform products Jeff Seibert in charge of Twitter’s core consumer product instead.

Twitter’s not commenting, of course.

This article originally appeared on

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