Twitter Chief Executive, Parag Agrawal, announced the company’s intentions to pause hiring new staff and to cut costs as a result of disruptions in the digital advertising market resulting from global economic turmoil and the war in Ukraine.

Agrawal became CEO in December 2021, succeeding founder Jack Dorsey.

Twitter also announced the surprise departure of two senior executives.

‘Effective this week, we are pausing most hiring and backfills, except for business critical roles,’ Mr. Agrawal wrote in a memo, seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Several companies in the tech industry are cutting staff and spending, or slowing hiring. Elon Musk, who agreed to buy Twitter recently, has indicated he would like to make Twitter less reliant on advertising, which now accounts for about 90% of its revenue.

Musk’s takeover and comments on Twitter about the platform, where he has more than 90 million followers, have created a sense of anxiety among some employees. Musk also mocked longtime head of legal, policy and safety, Vijaya Gadde, as a result of Gadde’s response to accusations of Twitter’s political bias.

This week’s departures are the highest profile personnel changes at Twitter since Musk agreed to buy the company. Bruce Falck, general manager of revenue, and Kayvon Beykpour, general manager of consumer Twitter, are leaving after being promoted to their positions in December. 

Beykpour announced his departure in a series of tweets, saying he was asked to leave the company by Mr. Agrawal while he was on paternity leave.

Some employees asked for clarity around Twitter’s severance packages, saying that given what could be looming layoffs, employees needed to be able to predict their level of financial security.