Musk says he’ll find new Twitter CEO but keep control of key divisions
Musk tweeted his decision Tuesday night in response to an unscientific and unrepresentative poll he launched two days ago, which asked users whether he should step down as head of the company. More than 10 million people, or 57.5 percent of respondents, voted that he should leave the position.
Musk had previously said he would abide by the results of the informal poll, which he launched after even some of his own allies criticized some of Twitter’s recent policies. The poll was one in a string of public blows to his image since he took on the role. This month, he was booed by the crowd when he went onstage at comedian Dave Chappelle’s San Francisco show.
The entrepreneur, who also leads Tesla and SpaceX, took control of the social media company in October in a $44 billion deal. Musk previously indicated he didn’t intend to remain in Twitter’s top spot long term.
Musk did not directly respond to the results of the poll for more than a day after it closed, but he did react to several tweets that suggested the poll could have been infiltrated by bots or that it wasn’t a representative sample of what people wanted.
His tepid response to the poll Tuesday night leaves the door open to him holding on to the top spot for an undetermined amount of time.
“Accurate assessment!” Musk responded to a tweet that asked why “offering to take over that thankless job” would make people upset.
Some Tesla investors had urged Musk to step aside from the social media company to focus his energies on the electric-car company, which has been struggling on the stock market. Shares of Tesla fell more than 8 percent Tuesday during trading.
Musk’s time leading Twitter has been marked by upheaval and occasionally chaos. The billionaire laid off thousands of employees, disbanded an outside group that oversaw online safety and reinstated prominent suspended accounts, including the one belonging to former president Donald Trump.
Musk’s moves have been controversial with many Twitter users and advertisers, risking the company’s major source of revenue. But others had cheered his free-speech agenda and urged him to stay on as chief executive.
Musk has used Twitter polls to make critical decisions several times since he took over the company, including on whether he should reinstate Trump. He also asked users whether the company should offer “general amnesty” to suspended accounts, many of which then began reappearing on the site.
Musk launched another poll Tuesday night, this time asking users whether Congress should approve a $1.7 trillion deal to fund the government.
Cat Zakrzewski contributed to this report.