October 04, 2010, 5:12 PM — In Dick Costolo's earlier days, he was an improv comedian, and is considered by some to still be a funny man.
Today Costolo was officially handed responsibility for the deadly serious challenge of turning microblogging service Twitter into a profitable business. Company co-founder and CEO Evan Williams announced Twitter was turning over the leadership reins to Costolo while he (Williams) focused on building products.
Costolo, a start-up veteran who was founder and CEO of Feedburner, joined Twitter about a year ago as chief operating officer. Under his brief tenure, Twitter's workforce has grown from a few dozen employees to about 300.
Here's what Williams said in the blog post about Costolo's work as COO:
"When I insisted on bringing Dick into the COO role a year ago, I got a lot of questions from my board. But I knew Dick would be a strong complement to me, and this has proven to be the case. During his year at Twitter, he has been a critical leader in devising and executing our revenue efforts, while simultaneously and effectively making the trains run on time in the office. Given Dick’s track record as a three-time successful CEO, I’m confident we can make this a smooth transition."
Costolo will be working with a Twitter web site recently redesigned to provide a better platform for advertisers. While Twitter has experimented with several revenue-generating ideas -- notably its "Promoted Tweets" program in which marketers pay for placement in Twitter.com searches -- nothing has taken off yet. Still, private investors have valued Twitter up to $1 billion.