Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that he was giving up 6.8 million shares of stock that he owns, trying to lift the spirits of those employees remaining and not affected by the company’s recent layoff of 300 workers. the stock is currently worth more than $200 million and according to documents at the Securities and Exchange Commission is to be used so Twitter can award its employees, in the way of stock issued to employees next year under the company’s incentive plan.
The olive branch comes a week after Dorsey laid off 8% of Twitter’s workforce, a move that was implemented to try to make the company profitable for the first time in its nine-year history and represents one third of the stock Dorsey owns in the San Francisco company.
“I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small,” Dorsey tweeted about surrendering some of his stock. “I’m confident we can make Twitter big!”
Dorsey will still own 15 million Twitter shares worth about $460 million, based on Twitter’s current market value.
Shares have Twitter have declined 40% over the past six months. Investors have concerns over the social media giants slowing user growth and its inability to make money.
In contrast, Facebook has 1.5 billion users and is only two years older than Twitter. Twitter Inc. brought back Dorsey, one of its co-founders, as its CEO in hopes that he can figure out a way to make the messaging service more appealing beyond its core audience of about 300 million users.
Dorsey is also serving as CEO of Square, a payment processing company that is preparing to price its IPO.
Dorsey has given back nearly 15.1 million shares of Square stock during the past two years, too, according to Square’s IPO documents. He remains by far Square’s largest shareholder with a 24 percent stake in that San Francisco company, which is located a block away from Twitter’s headquarters.
Twitter’s stock gained $1.13, or nearly 4 percent, to close Friday at $30.28.