Since last night's surprising announcement that Dick Costolo would be stepping down as Twitter (TWTR) CEO and replaced on an interim basis by Jack Dorsey, there's been a lot of speculation about who would be the full-time CEO named by the board.
Of all the different pieces I've seen since, the No. 1 named possible successor seems to be Adam Bain, who is currently the head of sales for the company. The biggest concern raised against him is that he's a sales guy and not a product person.
I don't think that's a fatal flaw. Yahoo! (YHOO) hired a product person as CEO. Has it worked? Well, we're three years in and it hasn't paid dividends yet.
But when we get to the outsider list of possible CEOs, there's not an obvious person that jumps out.
Victor Anthony of Axiom suggests Omid Kordestani of Google (GOOG), Tim Armstrong of AOL (AOL) or John Donahoe of eBay (EBAY). But Armstrong and Donahoe are still tied up with their current jobs, overseeing being acquired or a major spinoff. Kordestani just came back to help Larry Page oversee sales for Google after Nikesh Arora left for SoftBank.
Kordestani is probably the most interesting of those three names, but isn't he just another version of Adam Bain, a sales guy? The difference is he hasn't worked at Twitter for 5 years.
The most popular outsider I've heard mentioned so far is Mike McCue of Flipboard. But there's a big problem with that idea. Twitter would have to pay $1 billion to do that because they'd have to acquire his company, which some would argue has not been popular since 2011. McCue used to be on the Twitter board of directors so there's that. But will that translate into trust and confidence from Wall Street?
There have been other superstar potential CEOs like Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook (FB), Yahoo!'s Marissa Mayer and Kevin Systrom from Instagram. But I think it's highly unlikely any of them would leave their current gigs.
Who else might be a possible Twitter CEO? A name I haven't heard mentioned so far, but should be, is Jim Lanzone of CBS Interactive.
If CBS Interactive was a stock on its own, I'd want to buy it as a value play. The company has been quietly building out a great set of assets. It's always had CNET, which seems to get forgotten in the whole tech blog landscape except when you compare sites based on pageviews. CBS Sports and its fantasy sports offerings are solid and CBS Interactive very successfully launched its All Access over-the-top offering in the last few months, as well as a 24-hour-a0day online news channel.
Lanzone is well known to anyone operating in the consumer Internet space. He's just not a big name yet among the tech media and bloggers. But the last time I checked, those aren't going to be the ones who will turn around the company and take the stock to all-time highs.
Lanzone would have credibility with Wall Street once they met him and reviewed his track record. Twitter also wouldn't have to buy all of CBS to get him to work for them. He should be a strong contender for the job.