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.
As executive management positions continued to shift, Williams was replaced by COO Dick Costolo in 2010.
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 ( 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.