Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray Steps Down
August 31, 2013

Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray Steps Down

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online

Alex Macgillivray, Twitter’s top legal executive since September 2009, announced Friday he is leaving the company as the microblogging website creeps closer to a long-anticipated initial public offering.

Macgillivray, who Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal called “a key voice on government surveillance demands and other policy issues,” explained he would continue to support the social network as an advisor, but that he would be replaced as Twitter’s general counsel by corporate and international legal executive Vijaya Gadde.

A Twitter spokesman declined to say why the former Google employee is stepping down, but Ovide said Macgillivray would continue to work with the company during a six-month transition period. In addition to working with the legal team, he will also be advising the trust and safety, corporate development and public policy departments.

According to New York Times writer Somini Sengupta, MacGillivray has “won accolades from civil libertarians for advocating for the rights of users and for often resisting requests for information about its users.” Under his watch, the California-based social media website battled a 2011 court order seeking the release of the names of WikiLeaks supporters, and even informed users that officials were attempting to acquire their information.

“It has been a joy to work at Twitter. I have been fortunate to support the multiple award winning trust, public policy, corporate development, legal and, at various times during my tenure, communications and trust engineering teams,” Macgillivray wrote on his personal blog. “These are phenomenal teams made up of great people. I also continue to be awestruck by the many, varied, incredible ways people use Twitter.

“I am proud to have worked with colleagues who defend and respect the user’s voice; who push freedom of expression and transparency; and who innovate and lead,” he added. “Together we’ve brought some incredible products and talent into Twitter. We’ve supported teams creating new businesses and pushing to reach every person on the planet. Twitter continues to employ some of the funniest, most generous, smart, passionate and humble people I’ve ever met. I was lucky to get to work with them, and you can too.”

Gadde is a former senior director in the legal department of Sunnyvale, California-based networking equipment manufacturer Juniper Networks Inc., said Alexei Oreskovic of Reuters. She has previous experience in corporate and securities law, while her predecessor specialized in intellectual property, Oreskovic added.

A company spokesperson told Sengupta Twitter’s public policy department would now report directly to chief executive, Dick Costolo, rather than to the new general counsel. In addition, Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University, suggested to the Times Macgillivray may have decided to step aside rather than attempt to guide the company through the process of an IPO, which Sengupta said includes “a mountain of legal paperwork.”