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Twitter's General Counsel Steps Down

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on September 03, 2013 10:15 AM

Alexander Macgillivray is unexpectedly stepping down as Twitter's General Counsel. Not surprisingly, he tweeted the news himself and didn't offer a reason for the surprising move. (You do only get 140 characters per tweet.)

Here's why people are pretty surprised about it and who will be filling Twitter's empty legal nest.

But, But, Why...?

Industry folk are furrowing their eyebrows and scratching their heads at why Macgillivray is calling it quits when Twitter is on the cusp of going through its IPO. With 200 million active users in tow, Twitter is expected to go public in 2014, reports Reuters.

It's especially odd considering he's been with the company for years now. Macgillivray became Twitter's General Counsel in September 2009. During his four years with Twitter, he spearheaded the company's legal strategy and also played a central role in shaping Twitter's position as a zealous advocate for free speech.

Passing the Torch

Macgillivray will be replaced by Vijaya Gadde, who has been managing the company's corporate and international legal work, according to Reuters. Gadde is a former senior director in Juniper Networks Inc.'s legal department.

It should be an interesting shift in Twitter's corporate clime since Gadde's forte is corporate and securities law, while Macgillivray's specialty is intellectual property. That securities background makes Gadde well positioned to take the torch and take on Twitter's mountain of legal paperwork in connection with its initial public offering.

Plus she's a dame. A female General Counsel is always refreshing.

Flying the Coop

So what's in store for Macgillvray?

He will circle around the Twitter nest, serving as an advisor for the legal, trust & safety, corporate development and public policy teams, according to his bon voyage blog post. Apart from that, it's not clear what he'll be up to. But he does seem chipper about moving on from Twitter.

"I'm looking forward to engaging my various Internet passions from new and different perspectives, seeing friends and family without distraction, and just goofing off a bit. We should all do more of that," he wrote.

OK, that is pretty dang endearing. Best of luck to Mr. Macgillivray. May he have a most excellent time goofing off a bit.

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