As financial turmoil, stagnant growth and a loss of major players at the top continue to dominate news about Twitter, the company has scored a win in the hiring of a new CMO. American Express exec Leslie Berland has been confirmed as the social media platform’s latest high-profile acquisition.
News of this major coup in the marketing world broke in late January, just as word that four of Twitter’s top executives were making their exits was released. Product head Kevin Weil, engineering division head Alex Roetter, HR chief Brian “Skip” Schipper and media chief Katie Jacobs Stanton have all departed the company.
Berland, who last served as AmEx’s executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships, has been brought on to “help tell the stories of our iconic product,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted in confirmation of the hire.
Whether Berland’s storytelling prowess will be enough to attract more users to the platform remains to be seen. Twitter has been plagued by slow growth and falling stock prices for some time. Company co-founder Dorsey was brought back in as interim CEO last year and the move was made permanent on Sept. 30.
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Since taking over the helm, Dorsey has introduced a number of changes meant to turn Twitter around. The new moments feature, introduction of the heart-shaped “like” button and moves to better monetize the platform have yet to pay off in two key areas: stock prices and increased user numbers. Even the potential for Twitter to ditch its 140-character limit in favor of 10,000 characters has yet to resonate with investors.
The company’s shares have tumbled 37% since Dorsey took over and fell another 5% shortly after news of the high-level departures. Analysts view the executive exodus as a sign that things are getting worse, not better. While Twitter’s 320 million active user base is significant, it has plateaued at a point that pales in comparison to Facebook’s 1.5 billion. As a result, investors remain skeptical about the company’s ability to experience real growth.
While Twitter continues to take a beating in the press and on Wall Street, defenders point to the platform’s differences as the reason why it offers value. A recent heated tweet battle between Kanye West, Wiz Kahlifa and Amber Rose that went viral serves as an example of just how different Twitter is, Mashable contends.
Twitter exists in the moment with “off-the-cuff commentary” that is unique, the website asserted, while offering its own turnaround advice: “Twitter needs more Kanye West moments.” Whether those moments and the hire of Berland will be enough to turn the ship around is a story only time will tell.