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Twitter Rejigs Senior Leadership as Two More Executives Pack Their Bags – Toolbox


Twitter is clearing the way for newly appointed CEO Parag Agrawal to build his new team. Following the departure of the design and engineering heads in December 2021, the company is now bidding farewell to chief security head Peiter Zatko and CISO Rinki Seth.

Following an internal “assessment of how the organization was being led and the impact on top-priority work,” Twitter is reportedly parting ways with its chief security head as well as its chief information security officer. According to The New York Times, the exercise forms part of a significant organizational reshuffle that followed the departure of founder Jack Dorsey in November last year.

The fresh departures indicate that Parag Agrawal, the current Twitter CEO and a decade-long veteran, is looking to build a new management team. Weeks after he took over the wheel, the company’s chief design officer Dantley Davis, and head of engineering Michael Montano, were shown the way out.

Among those who will join Davis and Montano as ex-Twitter employees are head of security Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, and CISO Rinki Sethi, both of whom were hired in late 2020 to mend the shortcomings in the microblogging platform’s security. The news may surprise many, considering both Zatko and Sethi are industry stalwarts.

As per a memo sent by Agrawal to employees and accessed by The New York Times, Twitter does not intend to comment on the developments given the “nature of this situation.”

Zatko, a famous hacker and an information security expert, first gained prominence as a member of the ethical hacking group Cult of the Dead Cows back in the 90s and in L0pht, where he worked on disclosing security vulnerabilities. With L0pht, he famously testified before the United States Senate in 1998 that they could take down the internet in 30 minutes, highlighting prevalent vulnerabilities of the time.

See More: Jack Dorsey Hands Over Twitter’s Reins to Parag Agrawal, Shifts to Square

He has since made a mark in the cybersecurity industry by working as the program manager for @stake, BBN Technologies, Defense Advanced Research and Projects Agency (DARPA), the Advanced Technology & Projects division at Google, and payments startup Stripe before joining Twitter in November 2020.

Zatko’s job at Twitter was to plug gaps in the platform’s security, which became apparent following the hack of nearly 130 high-profile accounts, including those of Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Apple, etc., to run cryptocurrency scams amounting to approximately $120,000.

Sethi was also hired after this embarrassing incident to instill robust data security practices to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. Sethi’s stints at Walmart, eBay, Intuit, Palo Alto Networks, IBM, Rubrik, and others, all in the security domain, has made her one of the most sought-after security executives around. 

This is why both Zatko and Sethi won’t face any challenges landing a new job. But it does highlight Agrawal’s bold move to let them go,  although some would call it ill-advised, and may even hint at internal problems at the company.

Twitter’s head of privacy engineering Lea Kissner is taking over as the interim CISO.

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