Dick Costolo explains Twitter’s internal turmoil and executive resignations

Twitter has been hit with a seemingly non-stop run of high profile product head departures. Two of its top engineering staffers, its head of Analytics and its VP of Engineering, resigned at the end of October. They were followed the next day by a new face as Twitter’s VP of Product.

Costolo was asked about the departures on Wednesday during Twitter’s first analyst call, in a roundabout way. An analyst posed the question, “Are you a better CEO now than you were a year ago?”

Costolo replied with a quip along the lines of, “Is this an IQ test?” He then explained his thought process around the recent spate of resignations, suggesting that he initiated the departures. He said that as head of the company, he has to make “courageous decisions” even if he knows he’s going to get “the crap beat out of [him]” in the media fallout. He said he couldn’t let that stop him from doing “the right thing for the company.”

The lead product role at Twitter has been a revolving door for some time now, but the fact that these executives left around the same time made people wonder about the significance. Were their departures a sign of internal turmoil over Twitter’s product vision? Or was CEO Dick Costolo getting things on track by firing those impeding the process? Or neither?

Costolo described the departures as all being “right decisions at the right time” but occurring under “different circumstances.” He acknowledged that having the departures come all at once like that caused people outside the company to wonder “what the heck is that all about.”

He didn’t provide more detailed information on why the execs left the company, but he hinted it may have had to do with a culture or team fit. He said the team he has now “loves working with each other” and “they understand how to work with each other.”