Microblogging pioneer Twitter Inc hired Morgan Stanley managing director Cynthia Gaylor to run corporate development, adding an executive with 17 years of investment-banking experience in the run-up to a possible initial public offering (IPO).
Gaylor’s appointment was announced by Twitter staffers on the service and confirmed by the San Francisco-based company. Gaylor will focus on strategy and mergers and acquisitions, she said in a Twitter message.
“Pointed north,” she said. “Let the migration begin!”
Closely held Twitter, which is targeting US$1 billion in revenue next year, will probably draw on Gaylor’s background in the securities industry as it prepares for a potential market debut. Gaylor’s experience includes providing advice on IPOs, as well as mergers and equity and debt financing, according to her LinkedIn profile.
While Twitter chief executive officer Dick Costolo has said that management is not concentrating on an IPO, the company is widely predicted to hold a share sale before long to help it bankroll expansion and give early funders a way to realize financial gains on their investments.
Founded in 2006, Twitter was valued at about US$9 billion in January after early employees sold US$80 million in shares to a fund managed by BlackRock Inc, three people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.
A graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Gaylor also worked in technology investment banking at Hambrecht & Quist, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has advised on more than 150 transactions, representing more than US$100 billion in value, the profile says.
Twitter declined to make Gaylor available for comment.
Costolo has beefed up senior management in other ways. He appointed Ali Rowghani — then chief financial officer — as chief operating officer in December last yaer. Twitter had lacked a chief operating officer since Costolo vacated the role in 2010. Mike Gupta, who joined last year after leaving Zynga Inc, was named chief financial officer at the time.
Separately, Warren Buffett accumulates Twitter followers even faster than he makes money.
The 82-year-old “Oracle of Omaha” joined the service and sent his first tweet on Thursday, picking up more than 45,000 followers in just under 45 minutes.