Twitter co-founder Ev Williams is the company's top winner from the successful initial public offering.
Williams was the leader behind Odeo, a company that eventually spun off into Twitter. Odeo was a struggling podcast platform, so Williams called on his crew of employees to brainstorm alternative ideas. The company pivoted into what would eventually become Twitter. Williams became CEO after co-founder Jack Dorsey was ousted.
Twitter's initial public offering documents reveal Williams is the company's largest individual shareholder, with a 12% stake. At the $45.10 opening price for Twitter(TWTR) Thursday, Williams' stake is worth $2.6 billion. He has consolidated even more power than that, by voting by proxy the shares controlled by fellow co-founder Dorsey and institutional investor Rizvi Traverse. But those proxy voting arrangements will dissolve once the company goes public.
In 2011 Williams, along with Biz Stone, took a step back from day-to-day operations working on product strategy at the company and focused again on the Obvious Corporation, and yet another type of blogging platform.