Friday 28 October 2016

Former RTE journalist and Storyful boss chosen to head up Twitter Ireland

Ex-RTE journalist Mark Little Picture: RollingNews.ie
Ex-RTE journalist Mark Little Picture: RollingNews.ie

The former RTE broadcaster Mark Little is to become the head of Twitter in Ireland, with current chief Stephen McIntyre moving to join the Irish tech finance firm Frontline Ventures.

Mr Little is to take up the job next month. His appointment is the latest episode in a six-year transformation from the world of journalism to global technology.

Mr Little's new role in Twitter means that he will be in charge of the social network's expanding European headquarters in Dublin, which now employs over 200 people and is the company's largest facility outside the US. He will also continue in his current media partnership role across Europe.

However, he will not assume Mr McIntyre's role as Twitter's most senior sales vice president in Europe.

Having served both as RTE's Washington correspondent and its anchor newscaster on the Prime Time television show, Mr Little left the State broadcaster in 2009 to start an online news sourcing company, Storyful, which he sold in 2013 to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp for €18m. He joined Twitter last year as head of media partnerships in Europe.


"Mark is a Twitter evangelist through and through," said the outgoing managing director of Twitter in Ireland, Stephen McIntyre. "His leadership experience as founder and CEO of Storyful sets him up perfectly for the role."

Currently based between two offices in Dublin's inner city, Twitter will soon move into a newly-refurbished European headquarters adjacent to Merrion Square.

In Ireland, Twitter is the second biggest social network with approximately 900,000 users according to the research organisation Ipsos MRBI. Globally, 300m people regularly use the network. However, it has struggled to live up to market hopes with lower-than-expected revenue growth and no increase on its active user base over the last 12 months. Its advertising model lags behind perceived rivals such as Facebook and Pinterest, despite having 130,000 paying advertisers.

In its most recent annual results, Twitter grew its revenue from $1.4bn to $2.2bn, a 58pc increase. It lost $521m last year, down from $578m the year before.

New initiatives currently being rolled out by the company include an expansion of its advertising products to reach an additional 500m people that visit the site but who are not Twitter account holders.

Twitter shares have risen this week on foot of hopes that it could be a target for acquisition by a larger company. The market sentiment has been spurred by Microsoft's $26.2bn takeover of Linkedin.

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