EXCLUSIVE-Twitter looks at ex-Googler, others for board

Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:26pm BST

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* Twitter seeking ethnic or gender diversity

* New hire would bring board to eight members

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Microblogging service Twitter is looking for a director to bolster its board's business credentials and diversity, and candidates include a former Google Inc (GOOG.O) executive, a person familiar with the matter said.

The search is in its early stages. But some names that have come up include Mariam Naficy, chief executive officer of paper goods company Minted.com, and Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, chief executive officer at fashion retail site Joyus and the former president of Google's Asia-Pacific and Latin American operations, the person told Reuters.

Cassidy's biography on the Joyus site lists her as an adviser to Twitter. A spokeswoman for Joyus said Cassidy is traveling and didn't immediately respond to requests to clarify her role with Twitter.

Twitter launched its hunt after the company's board parted ways last month with directors Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital, both of whom were among the microblog's earliest investors.

Public-company boards typically consist of more directors with business expertise, and fewer early investors. Twitter is considered a leading initial public offering candidate for late 2012 or 2013.

Start-up boards are often predominantly white and male in Silicon Valley, despite the longtime influx of talent from all over the world.

Now, the board wants to cultivate a fresh perspective "to set the board up for long-term success," the person said.

A Twitter spokeswoman said it was company policy not to comment on the composition of the board.

Union Square started backing Twitter in small amounts in 2007, while Spark's initial investments came in 2008, data from Thomson Reuters shows.

Twitter's board members include Dick Costolo, Twitter's chief executive officer; Peter Currie, an investor and former chief financial officer of browser-company Netscape; Jack Dorsey, Twitter creator and chief executive of electronic-payment service Square; Peter Fenton, a partner at Twitter backer Benchmark Capital; Mike McCue, CEO of online social magazine Flipboard; David Rosenblatt, chairman of online advertising company Group Commerce; and Evan Williams, co-founder of Twitter.

Twitter has a valuation of about $8 billion on secondary markets.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

((sarah.mcbride@reuters.com; 1 415 677 2547))

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