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Twitter’s controversial head of China is the latest exec to leave the company



The Twitter executive exodus continues. CTO Adam Messinger and COO Adam Bain are among those to have left the company in recent months and now you can add Twitter’s head of its business in China to that list.
Kathy Chen was hired seven months ago as Twitter’s managing director of Greater China based out of its Hong Kong office, but she has exited the company following restructuring in Asia. That was part of company-wide changes that included the layoff of nine percent of Twitter’s staff and the exit of a number of high-profile leaders.
Chen, who had never used Twitter before last year, was a controversial appointment when she joined Twitter in April 2016 as its first Greater China MD. Her past employment and apparent government association raised concern in China.
Recognizable names like Cisco and Microsoft apart, Quartz report that Chen previously spent seven years researching missile defense at the People’s Liberation Army and also served as CEO of a joint venture from China’s Ministry of Public Security that specialized in security and, potentially, surveillance.
Twitter is blocked in China, but like Facebook and others it serves advertisers in the country who want to reach a global audience. Chen headed up that charge, but a reorganization in Asia — which has included the departures of those in charge of India, Southeast Asia and Australia — now means its Asia team handles Chinese clients, hence Chen is now headed for pastures new with no direct replacement.
In a 12-part tweetstorm announcing her exit, she claimed that Twitter’s had increased revenue from Chinese ad partners by close to 400 percent over the past two years. Chen added that Twitter’s Hong Kong office will remain open despite her exit and earlier reports that it would be shuttered.
Chen said she plans to take a rest before looking at “more international business opportunities” in the future.

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