Founders that were removed as CEOs – but were later reinstated

(4) Jack Dorsey

When Twitter was set up, Dorsey was named its CEO. However, many claimed the company wasn’t stable under his care. In Nick Bilton’s book “Hatching Twitter,” it was suggested that Dorsey made mathematical errors while keeping track of expenses and was highly ambitious in the fact that he wanted to be a fashion designer, took night classes and did art. Co-founder Evan Williams eventually sat down with Dorsey and said: “You can either be a dressmaker or the CEO of Twitter. But you can’t be both.”

Bilton claimed that Dorsey’s management of Twitter became so problematic that he was fired. The Twitter board’s change of heart came when CEO Dick Costolo stepped down in 2015, and Dorsey became interim CEO as the board searched for a replacement. However, board member Peter Currie explained that as interim CEO, Dorsey “was not just meeting but surpassing expectations.” 

Dorsey is “without a doubt one of the most successful entrepreneurs in tech today” who has “built two great companies from the ground up,” Currie added. As such, the company decided to stick with Dorsey as its CEO.

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(5) Rob Kalin

The young founder of Etsy demoted himself from CEO to CCO in 2008 after tensions mounted over his lack of management skills. But in 2009, as Etsy pursued growth even if it meant loosing a few customers, Kalin persuaded the board to reappoint him as CEO.

It didn’t take them long to change their minds, however, and Kalin soon found himself relinquishing the title again. While Kalin was considered a visionary who co-founded and helped create a profitable company, analysts claimed the switch was a clear sign that Kalin was deemed not to be the best person to lead the company as it started to encounter growing pains.

Replacing him was CTO Chad Dickerson, who wrote that his focus would be the Etsy network: “I’m going to prioritise the needs of the Etsy community in the broadest sense – Etsy’s sellers, how we work with each other within the company, our local communities, and everyone whose lives we touch.”

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