Mr. Dorsey spoke about the company’s slow growth during a Morgan Stanley conference on Friday. “Five years ago, we had to do a really hard reset of this company, and that takes some time to actually build from,” he said.
The company has also undergone frequent executive turnover. In 2018, Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, resigned to become the chief executive of SoFi, a finance start-up. Since then, Twitter has been without a chief operating officer. Mr. Dorsey has focused primarily on engineering and product development, preferring to leave operations to his deputies.
“Twitter seems remarkably similar as it did in 2015,” said Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business and a Twitter investor who called for Mr. Dorsey to step down last year. “The question is: Does this company, at this moment, warrant a full-time C.E.O. who has an office out of headquarters? The answer, I think, is yes.”
Some investors see Mr. Dorsey as an absentee executive who looks after Twitter as a hobby. He exacerbated their worries when he announced last year that he would move to Africa for three to six months in 2020. Some Twitter employees, who declined to be named because they were not authorized to speak publicly, defended Mr. Dorsey, saying he is engaged and meets three times a week with Twitter’s executive team.
On Friday, Mr. Dorsey backpedaled on his travel plans during the Morgan Stanley conference, saying he may put off the trip because of the spread of the coronavirus.
“Everything happening in the world, particularly with coronavirus, I have to reconsider what’s going on and what that means for me and for our company,” he said.
Mr. Dorsey defended his decision to lead two companies at once. “I have enough flexibility in my schedule to focus on the most important things, and I have a good sense of what is critical in both companies,” he said. “I have amazing teams working. For the first time in our history at Twitter, it feels like we have so much focus that we can ignore a bunch of the noise.”
Kate Conger reported from San Francisco, and Michael J. de la Merced from London.