MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: It’s not just Jack Dorsey, the Twitter co-founder, who gives top rating to Parag Agrawal, the new CEO of the micro-blogging platform. Some of his teachers too remember him as someone special.
“When Parag was taking the JEE exam, he completed all the questions that he knew in the first 40 minutes and went to ask for additional supplements. But the invigilator said there was no concept of giving additional supplements. He came back to his seat and read the instructions, which said, ‘Tie all the supplements correctly in the right order’. He went back to the invigilator and told her that she must order for supplements. He came out and was quite upset that he had lost precious time over this,” says Praveen Tyagi, a teacher, who coached him for the IIT-JEE in 2000.
Agrawal secured 77th rank in the IIT joint entrance exams and joined the computer science department at IIT-Bombay. Professor Supratim Biswas, a former head of computer science and engineering at IIT-B, recalled him as being a good student. “He did two courses with me and, if I remember correctly, he graduated as the department topper,” he told TOI.
Not much is known about Agrawal as he left for Stanford after graduating from IIT-B and completed a doctorate in computer science from Stanford University. Agrawal, whose mother was a school teacher and father was in atomic energy, is now in his early forties.
After Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai came to head Microsoft and Google in the first decade of the new millennium, Agrawal has got one of the most high-profile (and often, high-pressure) roles after Dorsey announced his departure from the micro-blogging platform, naming him as his successor.
Agrawal — a former researcher at Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T Labs — had joined Twitter in October 2011 as a software engineer, and was appointed the chief technology officer in October of 2017, according to his profile on networking site LinkedIn. In his appointment, which resulted in a surge in the shares of Twitter, Agrawal stamps the dominance of Indians in the fast-paced and high-profile world of Big Tech, which has been embroiled in several controversies in recent years as social media and internet companies have come to define public perceptions and online viewpoints, much to the discomfort of governments and regulators worldwide.
Parag was the “first choice” of Dorsey, the much-acclaimed but controversial founder of Twitter who called him someone who “deeply understands the company and its needs”. Not much is known about Parag and his personal life except that he passed out from the Atomic Energy Central School in Mumbai. He is married to Vineeta Agarwala, a venture capital investor whose Twitter profile describes her as a physician and adjunct clinical professor at Stanford Medicine. The couple have a young son called Ansh, who also happens to have a Twitter handle.
Agarwala has top-notch credentials, having graduated in biophysics from Stanford University, and then earning MD and PhD degrees from Harvard Medical School/MIT. She is currently a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, where she leads investments for the firm’s bio fund across therapeutics, diagnostics and digital health.
In his reaction after being named to the top position at Twitter, Parag thanked Dorsey for his “mentorship and friendship”. “I know that some of you know me well, some just a little, and some not at all. Let’s consider ourselves at the beginning — the first step towards our future. I’m sure you have lots of questions, and there’s a lot for us to discuss. At the all-hands tomorrow, we’ll have lots of time for Q&A and discussion. It’ll be the beginning of ongoing open, direct conversations I wish for us to have together.”

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