Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, 37, announced last week he will be taking a few weeks of parental leave when his wife gives birth to their second child
Just three months after he was promoted to CEO of Twitter and received a $12million bump in pay, Parag Agrawal announced that he will be taking a few weeks of paternity leave to welcome his second child.
Agrawal, 37, took over the leadership of the social media giant on November 29, after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey unexpectedly announced his exit from the company.
Agrawal, who started out as a software engineer at Twitter a decade ago and worked his way to the top, now draws an annual salary of $1million, plus bonuses and stock units valued at $12.5million.
As a first order of business, just days into his tenure as CEO Agrawal reshuffled Twitter’s leadership by pushing out head of engineering Michael Montano and chief design officer Dantley Davis.
During a general staff meeting last week, the newly minted chief executive told his employees that he will be taking ‘a few weeks’ off to spend time with his wife, financial executive Vineeta Agarwala, and their new baby. The Silicon Valley power couple also have a three-year-old son, Ansh.
Twitter allows its workers to take up to 20 weeks of parental leave, irrespective of gender.
Agrawal has not named an interim CEO to fill in for him and plans to maintain regular contact with Twitter executives during his time off.
Agrawal and his wife, financial executive Vineeta Agarwala, are pictured with their son, Ansh, who is now three years old
‘At Twitter, we encourage and fully support employees taking parental leave in whatever way works best for each person,’ Laura Yagerman, a Twitter spokeswoman, told The Washington Post, which broke the story. ‘It’s a personal decision, and we created a parental leave program (supporting up to 20 weeks of flexible leave) that is customizable for that reason.’
Agrawal’s announcement comes amid a challenging time for Twitter, which posted a loss in 2021 and fell short of Wall Street expectations for user growth in the last three months of the year.
Agrawal assumed his post as CEO of Twitter in late November 2021, after co-founder Jack Dorsey (pictured) suddenly left
Twitter has been one of several Silicon Valley firms that have championed parental leave for workers, regardless of gender.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO of Meta, surprised many in 2015, when he decided to take two months off work to be with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their first child, Maxima. The couple welcomed their second daughter, August, in 2017.
Paternity leave is still a controversial topic in corporate America, which has divided business leaders.
Joe Lonsdale, a tech investor, last year made headlines when he poked fun at the audio streaming company Spotify for offering six months of parental leave and said that ‘any man in an important position who takes 6 months of leave for a newborn is a loser.’
Lonsdale followed up with a tweet, arguing that the ‘correct masculine response’ for new dads is too work harder to provide for their child.
Garry Tan, co-founder of Initialized Capital, clapped back at Lonsdale, saying that he took the full four months of parental leave offered to all employees at his firm to set an example for others.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (right) took two months off work in 2015 to be with his wife, Priscilla Chan, and their first child, Maxima. The couple welcomed a second daughter in 2017 (pictured together)
Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian said he took 16 weeks off work to help wife Serena Williams after the birth of their daughter, Olympia (pictured together in November 2021)
Tesla founder Elon Musk said after the birth of his youngest child (pictured together in December 2021) that he did not have much of a role in caring for the baby
Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian, who is married to tennis superstar Serena Williams, has been a vocal advocate for parental leave. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times in 2020, he said that he took 16 weeks off work to help his wife, who suffered near-fatal complications during childbirth.
‘Nothing could have dragged me away from my wife and daughter in those hours, days and weeks — and I’m grateful that I was never forced to choose between my family and my job,’ Ohanian wrote.
By contrast, Elon Musk, the eccentric dad-of-seven Tesla and SpaceX founder and CEO, told the New York Times in 2020, after welcoming his youngest child with singer Grimes, that he did not have much of a role as a dad at that stage.
‘Well, babies are just eating and pooping machines, you know?’ he quipped. ‘Right now there’s not much I can do. … When the kid gets older, there will be more of a role for me.’