Multi-tasker Musk expects to reduce time at Twitter, seek another leader

Comment comes as CEO testifies in suit questioning $65b Tesla pay

Elon Musk, disruptor extraordinaire of the social media platform he bought for $44 billion isn't planning to run Twitter permanently on a full-time basis and says a CEO will be hired.

The world’s richest man – who is also CEO at Tesla and SpaceX – made the comments when he testified yesterday during a lawsuit brought by shareholders who claim his $56 billion compensation pack awarded by the electric car company was too high.

The 2018 lawsuit alleges that Musk's time and attention are divided among other ventures, including SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink (which has its own CEO) and now Twitter.

“There’s an initial burst of activity needed post acquisition to reorganize the company,” Musk said. “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time.”

Immediately ruling himself out was Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and the former CEO at the business. He was asked by a fellow user on Twitter if he’d accept the position and replied “Nope”.

Twitter might not be the only chief exec office that Musk is prepared to vacate. According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla board member James Murdoch yesterday said during the shareholder lawsuit trial that Musk had previously identified a possible replacement at Tesla but he didn’t name that potential successor.

Musk had commented at the Tesla annual shareholder meeting in August that he planned to remain at the top of the electric carmaker for as long as he could prove useful.

Running multiple companies seems to be OK for tech bros, but having a job on the side is sometimes frowned upon by the C suite, as was recently demonstrated when a boss fired several engineers for moonlighting.

Twitter has sucked up a lot of Musk’s time, particularly since the deal closed a fortnight ago, and he expects the major restructuring work to be done this week. It has been a period of massive upheaval for the workforce at the social media platform.

Musk announced his arrival by turning up to Twitter HQ with a kitchen sink, he then expunged the CEO, CFO and head of legal council and around half the workforce amid daily losses at Twitter of $4 million.

This week Musk alienated some software engineers after claiming to know the cause of slower Twitter performance in a bunch of countries. One, Eric Frohnhoefer, publicly disagreed and was subsequently laid off. Others followed him out of the door.

Musk mocked them, saying: “I would like to apologize for firing these geniuses. Their immense talent will no doubt be of great use elsewhere.”

In yet a further example of the man’s motivational techniques, his Muskness issued an ultimatum days ago telling staff that to realize his vision for Twitter 2.0, they'd need to burn the midnight oil.

“This will mean working long hours at high intensity,” he said. “Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.” Those willing to sign the pledge have until 5pm Eastern Time today or can leave.

The employees remaining at Twitter could be forgiven for hoping a change in leadership, if not ownership, comes sooner rather than later. ®

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