While Goldman Sachs battles with a difficult period for its markets business, Twitter has been dealing with its own longer term problems of a falling stock price and stalling user numbers. There’s a former Goldman banker at the heart of its efforts to turn it around – and opinions are split on how he’s doing it.
In a long profile of Anthony Noto, the former global co-head of TMT banking at Goldman Sachs and current COO and CFO of Twitter who joined in 2014 on a package worth a reported $73m, Business Insider says that he’s the “wartime CEO” needed to turn the fortunes of the social media company around. Noto’s big vision, it says, is to turn Twitter into more of a media company with live video feeds and a place where people come to break and discuss the news.
Business Insider has interviewed current and former employees of Twitter to gain an insight into his personality and methods. A former star football linebacker at West Point and then served as an Army Ranger before getting his MBA, Noto spent the majority of his career at Goldman Sachs. All those years working long hours and flying to client meetings at Goldman certainly paid off in one way – during his first year he worked at Twitter’s San Francisco office while his family remained in New York. He flew home every Friday night, and then returned each Monday morning.
“I was amazed at his capacity, his stamina and engine,” Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo told Business Insider.
But Noto was also described by some colleagues as having a “brusque” management style and being political. “Anthony has such a strong belief in his own intelligence that it’s hard for him to learn. He believed himself smarter and better at everyone’s job,” one person told BI. He was also reported to favor those he brought in to the ranks and discounted the ideas of others.
Others interviewed said that this was simply misinterpreting his approach, which is playing an extreme version of devil’s advocate and pulling apart ideas he likes even if it appears he’s being overly-critical. “Anthony is super rigorous, [often asking] ‘Why do we believe this? Let’s interrogate numbers this way, that way,'” Costolo said. “Anthony and the rest of the team there are really honest with everybody including themselves.”
Noto has a wealth of experience understanding what makes tech businesses work, rather than just the product.
“He’s not a tech guy. He’s a numbers person,” Ryan Jacobs, chairman and chief investment officer of Jacob Funds told BI. “By being around the sector for as long as he has, he has a good feel for what ingredients are necessary for long-term success, even though I’m sure it’s frustrating to not quite crack the code on what it takes to make Twitter less of a niche product.”
Separately, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has been talking Brexit. Carney believes that the current uncertainty surrounding the UK is turning off investment in the country. But when it comes to the City of London, Carney doesn’t think that Brexit will lead to an exodus – at least not on the long-term. He told that Guardian that the City could double in size over the next 25 years, but this shouldn’t mean taking a light touch approach to regulation. Some believe that the UK’s exit from the EU presents an opportunity for a new era of light-touch regulation – so-called Singapore on Thames – but Carney says this would be a mistake.
“We have a financial system that is ten times the size of this economy … It brings many strengths, it brings a million jobs, it pays 11% of tax revenue, it is the biggest export industry by some token … All good things. But it’s risky,” he told the Guardian.
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