Twitter’s controversial chief in China, Kathy Chen, announced her departure after only eight months working in the company.

Chen becomes the fifth Twitter executive to leave after two months amid a global reorganization of Twitter. She announced she quitted in a series of tweets published on December 31. However, she said that the office in Hong Kong would remain open. Twitter remains blocked in China since 2009. Though, Chen was hired to cultivate more Chinese advertising clients.

Twitter's Katy Chen
“Now that Twitter’s APAC [Asia Pacific] team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” Ms. Chen wrote in a tweet. Image credit: Financial Times.

Five executives have left Twitter in two months

Twitter announced layoffs in October after continued losses. The company has always had challenges with profitability and its revenues have decreased. After a $100 million loss, the San Francisco-based company said it would focus on profitability. It also announced a reduction of its workforce in 9 percent or what is equivalent to 350 positions mainly on the sales, partnership, and marketing departments.

In two months, several executives have left the company including Parminder Singh, head of India, Southeast Asia, Middle East and North Africa. A spokeswoman for the social network confirmed Mr. Chen’s departure on Monday. Ms. Chen said via twitter she would take some time to recharge, and that she would study international business opportunities.

Though China blocked twitter in 2009, Twitter’s advertiser base in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan has increased its revenues by 400 percent during the last two years.

Chen’s appointment raised controversy due to links with China’s government

Kathy Chen was a former executive of Microsoft and Cisco. However, her appointment as Twitter’s chief in China was rather controversial due to her previous work with China’s military. Earlier in her career, she was an engineer for a research institute attached to the Chinese army’s Second Artillery Corps. As well, she worked five years as the CEO of an antivirus company that was funded by an arm of China’s Ministry of Public Security.

She joined Twitter the same day her appointment was announced. She has been criticized due to her lack of familiarity with Twitter and her willingness to cooperate with China’s state-controlled media.

Through her first tweets as Twitter chief in China, she offered to work with the government to promote China. As well, in a reply to tweets by Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey and state broadcaster China Central Television she said that they could work together to “tell great China story to the world.”

During her work at Twitter, she stated that the company in China was focused on serving Chinese advertisers who wanted to reach international markets. At the moment, it seems like there is no intention from the company or the government to make Twitter accessible for people in China again.

Source: Tech Crunch