Search for new CEO of Twitter begins, but Elon Musk confirms he will remain in charge of software and server teams
Elon Musk’s chaotic tenure as CEO of Twitter is coming to an end, but the controversial billionaire will retain a vital leadership role at the micro-blogging platform.
After a series of erratic policy misjudgements last week that included banning journalists and implementing a new policy banning all links to other social networks, including Mastodon, Instagram and Facebook, Musk faced a notable backlash.
The United Nations and the EU criticised Musk for banning journalists. The UN tweeted that media freedom was “not a toy”, while the EU threatened Twitter with sanctions.
Musk then at the weekend started a poll asking Twitter users whether he should step down as chief executive of the company.
Musk said he would “abide” by the results of the poll.
And Twitter users were quick to made clear their disapproval, after more than 57 percent of users voted in favour of Musk stepping down as chief executive, with about 17.5 million users voting in the poll.
The remaining 42.5 percent voted no to Musk stepping down.
Following the results Musk’s account was uncharacteristically silent for several hours, but he broke his absence to reply “interesting” to several posts suggesting the poll had been skewed by bots.
Responding to another suggestion that “Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy related polls”, Musk wrote, “Good point. Twitter will make that change.”
This policy change was confirmed on Tuesday.
But he did not provide any further details about a plan to step down as chief of the firm or who a successor might be, other than tweeting on Sunday that “no one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
Now on Wednesday Musk tweeted that he will “resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 21, 2022
One witty Twitter user asked “which comes first? You step down as Twitter CEO or the Tesla BOD (board of directors) removes you as their CEO?”
The user added a photo of Tesla’s plummeting stock price, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Musk’s wealth.
Since Musk announced his plans to buy Twitter in April 2022, Tesla share price has sunk 59 percent.
Musk tried to blame the sinking price partly on macroeconomic factors, replying in a tweet “as bank savings account interest rates, which are guaranteed, start to approach stock market returns, which are *not* guaranteed, people will increasingly move their money out of stocks into cash, thus causing stocks to drop.”
However there is no disguising the fact that the call from Wall Street for Musk to step down has been growing for weeks.
Recently even Tesla investors have questioned whether his focus on the social media platform is distracting him from properly managing the electric car business.
But it should be noted that Musk had been intending not to remain as head of Twitter for a long time.
Indeed, Musk told a Delaware judge on 16 November that he planned to reduce his time at Twitter and “find somebody else to run Twitter over time”.