Twitter’s power players and ousted leaders

Twitter has a couple big names in the spotlight: Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo and co-founder and Chairman Jack Dorsey, who was recently profiled in The New Yorker and will own more than 4 percent of the company after its initial public offering.

But there are a number of other key players who are responsible for creating and growing Twitter, and running it now.

Twitter’s ousted co-founders

Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images Evan Williams

Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Evan Williams

Evan Williams, Twitter’s largest individual shareholder with 10 percent of the company post-IPO, was CEO until he was ousted by the board in 2010. He was replaced by Costolo, who was brought in as COO the prior year.

Williams co-founded Obvious Corp., an incubator for Web media companies and an investment firm of sorts, along with Twitter’s former chief creative director, Biz Stone, who left Twitter at the same time as Williams.

(Read more: Twitter’s mysterious outside shareholder)

Obvious’ main project is a publishing platform called Medium, which launched last year. Medium offers an alternative—almost an antidote to Twitter’s 140 character limitations. It’s designed for easily sharing and reading longer-form content—magazine-style articles. It helps writers find an audience and helps readers find relevant content, enabling them to comment and share with friends.

Getty Images Twitter co-founder Biz Stone

Getty Images
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone

Stone and Williams’ Obvious also backs a very different kind of start-up outside the media space—Beyond Meat. Its vegan meat alternatives like Veggie Chicken Strips are considered pretty close to the real thing, and are available in grocery stores including Whole Foods.

Stone recently announced a solo start-up venture, called Jelly. It’s in stealth mode, and he hasn’t revealed anything about it other than it is hiring and it’ll be focused on mobile.

(Read moreOn the eve of the expected IPO, Twitter has a new top bird)

The co-founder furthest from Twitter’s nest is Noah Glass. He left soon after Twitter launched, following a falling-out with his co-founders. Glass’ Twitter profile says “I started this,” but he doesn’t Tweet often.

His LinkedIn profile is also limited—saying he co-founded Odeo (the start-up where he, Williams, Stone and Dorsey hatched the idea for Twitter).

Glass didn’t respond to requests for comment via social media. Unlike Williams and Stone, who are featured in a Twitter roadshow video, Glass has nearly been written out of Twitter’s history.

All the founders declined requests for comment.

Twitter’s current top bass

Source: Twitter Mike Gupta

Source: Twitter
Mike Gupta

Facebook’s IPO put its COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman in the spotlight. Here are their counterparts at Twitter: CEO Costolo’s right hand is COO Ali Rowghani, who joined Twitter in 2010 as CFO after holding that same position at Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, where he worked for nine years. He switched to the COO role when Costolo brought in CFO Mike Gupta.

Gupta joined Twitter a year ago from Zynga where he was treasurer for just one year. Before his short stint at Zynga he was a senior executive at Yahoo, focusing on search at online partnership deals.

(Read more: Twitter gets a warning from tech veteran)

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