Elon Musk, amid his erratic two-month reign as Twitter’s CEO, said he will step aside as chief executive once he finds someone to take over the role. Even then, however, the billionaire will retain control of the social network and remain closely involved in running it.
“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,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
On Sunday, Musk had posted a Twitter poll asking “Should I step down as head of Twitter?” and claiming he would “abide by the results.” After the 12-hour voting period ended, 57.5% of votes were in favor of Musk exiting as CEO.
While he will ostensibly relinquish the throne, Musk will continue to wield total control over Twitter, the social network he acquired in a debt-laden $44 billion deal. Musk previously said he planned to eventually hire a permanent CEO for Twitter. He apparently has not found a candidate yet. “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive,” Musk tweeted Sunday. “There is no successor.”
Musk had installed himself as CEO of Twitter, which he admitted he was “overpaying for,” after firing former chief executive officer Parag Agrawal and other senior execs. The tech titan on Nov. 4 also laid off half of Twitter’s workforce, claiming it was losing upwards of $4 million per day, and drove hundreds more out the door after he demanded they pledge to “extremely hardcore” working conditions. Twitter’s headcount has dropped by nearly 75% since Musk took over, including a round on layoffs on Dec. 16, the Information reported. The most recent cuts pink-slipped about 50 employees, mostly in its infrastructure group, per the New York Times.
As head of Twitter, Musk has made a series of seemingly impulsive decisions. That has included modifying the company’s usage policies on the fly and suspending the Twitter accounts of several journalists — which Musk claimed was because they “doxxed” him by posting his “exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates,” although there is no evidence that any of them did this. Some of the journalists had reported on and shared links to @ElonJet, a bot account that tracked Musk’s private jet using publicly available data (which Musk banned under a newly created policy prohibiting sharing someone’s real-time location without their permission).
Less than a week after closing the Twitter deal on Oct. 27, Musk quickly pushed through a price increase for Twitter Blue and added the perk of “verified” blue check-marks to subscribers. That was a disaster, as Twitter became flooded with celebrity imposters and corporate parody accounts that appeared authentic. Twitter suspended the subscription program, then relaunched it last week with new safeguards to prevent fake accounts.
On Sunday, Twitter announced a new policy stating that accounts promoting other platforms — including Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and Trump’s Truth Social — will be suspended. Later in the day, the page on Twitter’s help site about the new “Promotion of Alternative Social Platforms Policy” was removed. Musk tweeted that the policy “will be adjusted to suspending accounts only when that account’s *primary* purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no-spam rule.” Musk apparently used this new rule as a reason for suspending Washington Post tech columnist Taylor Lorenz’s account on Saturday, before it was restored one day later. (Musk previously said Lorenz was temporarily suspended for “prior doxxing action,” but she said she has not doxxed anyone on Twitter or anywhere else.)
Musk remains CEO of Tesla and rocket company SpaceX. He currently is the second wealthiest person in the world, after the value of his holdings in Tesla has declined in recent weeks, behind luxury-brand mogul Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.