Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says coronavirus has caused him to re-evaluate Africa plans

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, speaking publicly for the first time since a hedge fund began to push for him to step down, said Thursday that he was re-evaluating his plans to spend six months in Africa.

Dorsey’s plans had led to criticism that he isn’t been sufficiently focused on his role at Twitter, which has become the target of activist investors who are pushing for major changes at the company.

Dorsey, who is also the chief executive of payment company Square, said the global coronavirus outbreak had caused him to reconsider his plans.

“I had been working on my plans where I’d work decentralized, as my team and I do when we travel, but in light of COVID-19 and everything else going on, I need to re-evaluate. Either way we’ll continue to pursue opportunities in Africa,” Dorsey said, speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference.

During the presentation, Dorsey suggested it had been a mistake to tweet about his Africa plans without explaining fully why he felt it was necessary. He further explained that Africa has a large population of young people who are major users of new technology.

Dorsey’s statements came less than a week after Bloomberg first reported that the hedge fund Elliott Management had suggested a new slate of four people for Twitter’s board of directors, aiming to pressure Dorsey to focus on his main job or potentially push him out.

Elliott Management did not immediately return a request for comment after Dorsey’s presentation.

Twitter is not the first company that Elliott Management has pushed to change its leadership. Earlier this year, the hedge fund, known for buying up Puerto Rico’s debt, launched a battle against AT&T, the owner of CNN. Elliott sent a letter to AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, suggesting ways it could improve its finances and and suggesting Stephenson name a successor.

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