The Washington Post

(Former) PayPal exec tweets his meltdown

His was not a graceful exit.

Less than two months after he was hired as director of strategy for PayPal, Rakesh “Rocky” Agrawal, who also blogs about tech and appears frequently on CNBC, parted ways with the company over the weekend amid a series of insulting tweets about his colleagues.

It all started Friday night.

While having what he described in a tweet as “the best night of my life” at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Agrawal, without explanation,  took aim at his PayPal coworkers, calling Christina Smedley, PayPal’s vice president of global brand and communications, a “useless middle manager” and a “piece of s—.”

In a barely intelligible tweet, he also suggested that someone whose name appears to have been autocorrected to “Don Christmas” should be fired.

Saturday morning, in apparent attempt at damage control, Agrawal tweeted that he thought he was sending the messages to a colleague privately. He blamed the error on the new Android phone he said he was testing. He also tweeted an apology to PayPal president, David Marcus, and Stan Chudnovsky, PayPal’s vice president of growth and global strategy, saying they were “among the two of the smartest guys I know. And I know brilliant people.”

PayPal responded Saturday evening by tweeting that “Rakesh Agrawal is no longer with the company. Treat everyone with respect. No excuses. PayPal has zero tolerance.”

On Sunday, Agrawal called PayPal’s tweet “factually correct but utterly misleading” and tweeted a photo of his resignation e-mail sent Friday night. In it he said he was leaving to start a new company, ReDesign Mobile, which he invited Marcus and Chudovsky to invest in.

Then he put out a call for investors in his new company, followed by stream-of-consciousness tweets repeatedly emphasizing that he doesn’t need the money.

By Sunday evening, he seemed desperate, promising equity for the favorite charity of his first five employees. Then, around 11 p.m., it appeared Agrawal was out on the town and having phone trouble again.


Later, Agrawal  said “F— you” to half of Silicon Valley, including Christina Smedley. Gawker has a screen grab of the tweets, which Agrawal has since deleted from his account. But he still had only nice words for Marcus, whom he called “brilliant.”


Gail Sullivan covers business for the Morning Mix blog.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Terrence McCoy · May 5, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.