Twilio CEO Lawson steps down after activist fights

Shares of Twilio rose about 6.4% on the news.

“The time has come for me to hand over the reins of this extraordinary company to a new CEO to lead Twilio into its next chapter,” said Lawson. Blog Announcing the change.

Khozema Shipchandler, a longtime Twilio executive, will take over the top role starting Monday. Shipschandler will also take a board seat.

Lawson will step down from Twilio's board, where he served as chairman. Jeff Epstein, a current board member and Bessemer Venture Partners partner, will take the lead seat.

“I am honored to step down as CEO,” said Shipschandler liberation. He also suggested that the company would take a hard look at “underperforming” businesses in line with what activists are fighting for.

However, the move is unlikely to deter enthusiasts at Anson Funds and Legion Partners. Both are pushing for the company to sell itself or divest its data and apps business entirely, CNBC previously reported.

Twilio is working with bankers at Qatalyst Partners to fend off those suitors, CNBC reported in December.

“As we previously discussed with Twilio's board of directors, we believe founder Jeff Lawson's departure from the company is a step in the right direction and are pleased with the leadership transition announced today,” said Sagar Gupta, portfolio manager at Anson Funds.

Gupta helped build Legion Partners' stake in Twilio in 2023, the people previously told CNBC, and piled up new stakes in Anson Funds when he joined the struggling activist fund.

“We believe additional actions are necessary to maximize shareholder value. We look forward to continued engagement with Twilio's board and management team,” he added.

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Shipschandler's appointment comes after the company cut another 5% of its workforce in layoffs focused on the company's data and applications business. However, a person close to Legion Partners told CNBC at the time that more changes were needed.

Shipschandler served as Twilio's chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He joined Twilio in 2018.

Legion Partners did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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