Ex-Twitter VP engineering Mike Abbott joins Kleiner Perkins as partner

Michael Abbott at GigaOM Mobilize 2011

Michael Abbott at GigaOM Mobilize 2011

Mike Abbott, who most recently worked as VP of engineering at Twitter, has joined Silicon Valley venture capital stalwart Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers as a senior partner.

The news is big for all parties involved, as Abbott is just the third person to be added as a KPCB senior partner in the past three years. The others were Electronic Arts (s erts) veteran Bing Gordon and Wall Street veteran Mary Meeker. The move marks a major departure for Abbott; while he has been an angel investor and startup advisor, the bulk of his career has been focused on the engineering side of the industry. Prior to joining Twitter in May 2010, Abbott was the executive at Palm who led the development of WebOS. (s hpq) Before that, he was a general manager at Microsoft (s msft) for .NET online services, which became the cloud computing platform Azure.

In an interview Thursday morning, Abbott said the decision to make the shift to full-time VC was not taken lightly:

“It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time on, deliberating. For me what made it really easy was the fit for me here at Kleiner Perkins, the background of the firm and the people who are here. That’s what’s made it very natural.”

Meanwhile, Abbott’s former boss, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, has expressed support for the career switch. In a statement issued Thursday, he said: “Mike is a huge engineering talent and will be a terrific asset to Kleiner’s technology companies. He was instrumental in helping us scale Twitter’s architecture to support incredible growth ? from 100 million daily Tweets in January 2011 to about 250 million daily Tweets today.”

Here’s a video of Abbott speaking with Om Malik at the Mobilize 2011 conference back in September:

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