Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Exclusive: Twitter’s VP Engineering Mike Abbott Departs

According to sources close to the situation, Twitter VP of Engineering Mike Abbott has left the company.

He is apparently interested in doing more investing.

[UPDATE: Twitter confirmed the departure in a statement, noting that Abbott was joining Benchmark Capital as an entrepreneur in residence. Benchmark’s Peter Fenton is on the Twitter board.

“We can confirm that Mike Abbott is no longer with Twitter. Mike will be available to assist the company in his new role as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital. We thank Mike for his leadership in growing an outstanding team of engineers from 100 to 400 that have successfully taken on the unique challenge of making Twitter reliable and stable. While Mike led the engineering team, Twitter grew from handling 55 million tweets a day to 230 million. Twitter is focused on aggressively moving forward to fulfill the profound opportunities that are in front of us.”

Said Fenton:

“What Mike Abbott accomplished at Twitter is nothing short of heroic, when Benchmark introduced him to the company we felt he had the courage and entrepreneurial drive to build a strong engineering foundation. Today we applaud him for that extraordinary accomplishment. As we continue to work closely with the team at Twitter, we’re delighted to welcome Mike to Benchmark as an entrepreneur in residence. Mike will not only continue to lend his considerable talents to supporting the team at Twitter, but as a true entrepreneur at heart, will undoubtedly be an incredible asset to our entrepreneurs and our portfolio overall.”]

The move feels sudden, but sources said it has been brewing for a while and happened several days ago.

Abbott was a high-profile hire for Twitter a little over a year ago from Palm, where he served as head of its software and services, in charge of its webOS platform.

He was brought in to bring a level of discipline and reliability to the Twitter communications platform and service, which was plagued by persistent outages that made the Fail Whale infamous.

In large part, Abbott has done that, as Twitter has grown significantly. It now has 230 million tweets per day, he said in a recent interview.

Twitter does not have a replacement as yet, sources said.

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