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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is reconsidering his Africa move given coronavirus fears ‘and everything else going on’

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey gestures while interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi on November 12, 2018.

Prakash Singh | AFP | Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Thursday he’s reconsidering his upcoming move to Africa due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

“I had been working on my plans where I’d work decentralized, as my team and I do when we travel, but in light of COVID-19 and everything else going on I need to reevaluate. Either way we’ll continue to pursue opportunities in Africa,” Dorsey said at Morgan Stanley‘s Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco. 

Companies across the globe are increasingly having to change plans due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. More than 96,800 have been sickened with the flu-like illness, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. At least 3,305 have died. 

Dorsey announced his intent to move last November. The Twitter and Square CEO’s plan was to relocate to the continent for up to six months in the middle of 2020. But Dorsey has come under fire for choosing to move so far away from his companies, as analysts were split on the news.

On Friday, CNBC reported that Elliott Management founder Paul Singer is seeking to replace Dorsey as CEO in part because of the move. Elliott has taken a stake in the company worth more than $1 billion and nominated four new board members. 

Dorsey didn’t address Elliott specifically on Thursday, but said he should have clarified his reason for the move in his November tweet. 

“When I tweeted about my intention to spend a few months in Africa this year, I made a mistake and should have provided more context about why,” he said. “Africa will be one of the most populated continents in the next 20 to 30 years, the tech innovation is incredible with a large portion of the population still coming onto the internet. Huge opportunity especially for young people to join Twitter and for us to learn to best serve them.”

Shares of Twitter are down about 3% in mid-day trading amid a broad market sell-off.

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