Twitter GC says we should all goof around more as he steps down

Twitter general counsel Alexander Macgillivray has surprised the social media sphere by stepping down from his role, passing the torch to legal director Vijaya Gadde.

Macgillivray, known for his championing of free speech online, announced his departure on Friday (30 August) via Twitter, posting a link to his blog where he said he was looking forward to seeing friends and family and goofing around for a bit.  

”We should all do more of that,” he wrote in his personal blog.

”I am proud to have worked with colleagues who defend and respect the user’s voice, who push freedom of expression and transparency, and who innovate and lead,” he said. “It has been my privilege to work and fight on behalf of great companies and their users over the last decade. A privilege and a lot of work.

”So, 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.” 

Macgillivray was associate general counsel of product and IP at Google until 2009, when he left for the top legal role at Twitter. The former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner is passing the bat to fellow Wilson Sonsini associate Gadde, who joined the micro-blogging site in July 2011 from Juniper Networks, where she was associate general counsel of corporate.

In a Twitter post Gadde said she would ”continue to defend our users around the world”.

Macgillivray’s resignation has surprised the market given that it comes a year before Twitter’s expected initial public offering (IPO). Macgillivray did not indicate in his blog post where he intends on going next, instead highlighting the importance of having time off. 

Last November Google deputy general counsel Nicole Wong joined Twitter as legal director, ramming home the message that Google DNA runs deep at the microblogging site. Wong, who was Google’s chief censorship star for nearly eight years, wrote on her Twitter page: “New nest. Excited to #jointheflock,” to which Macgillivray replied: “So excited to be working with Nicole again!” 

Other lawyers to have left the search giant for Twitter include associate litigation counsel Amy Keating, European boss Anthony Wang and corporate counsel Bakari Bock, while November’s appointment of Aliza Knox, ex-managing director of commerce for Google Asia Pacific, marked Twitter’s first-ever pan-Asia executive outside Japan.

Read more about Twitter’s legal issues in 2012’s Transatlantic Elite report.