Elon Musk refuses to join Twitter’s board after becoming the company’s largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake: CEO Parag Agrawal says ‘I believe this is for the best’ and the Tesla CEO bizarrely tweets then deletes a single emoji following the news
- Elon Musk, 50, last week was revealed to be the biggest shareholder in Twitter, having bought a stake worth 9.2 percent – four times that of founder Jack Dorsey
- Musk was due to join the board of the company on Saturday but decided not to, CEO Parag Agrawal said on Sunday
- Agrawal said he thought Musk’s decision was ‘for the best’ and said the company must remain focused on its corporate goals
- He did not say why Musk would not join, but suggested that shareholders had expressed concern
- Agrawal stated: ‘We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our board or not’
- Musk on Sunday night tweeted an emoji of a smiling face, with a hand over its mouth – supposedly an expression of rapture, a smirk, a shy smile, or happiness
- Some speculated that Musk could have backed out of joining the board because he now intends to stage a hostile takeover
- Joining the board would have prevented him owning more than 14.9 percent of shares
Elon Musk will not join the board of Twitter in a dramatic about-face after becoming the social media giant’s biggest shareholder, Chief Executive Parag Agrawal said on Sunday.
Musk, who disclosed a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter just a few days ago, was offered a board seat on Tuesday, and his appointment was to become effective on Saturday.
But Agrawal announced on Sunday evening that Musk, 50, had decided not to take up his seat.
‘Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board’, Agrawal said on Twitter, adding that he thought it was ‘for the best’.
The usually vocal Musk has not commented on his decision but early Monday morning he tweeted an emoji of a smiling face, with a hand over its mouth – supposedly an expression of rapture, a smirk, a shy smile, or indicating happiness. He then deleted it.
Twitter’s CEO also did not reveal the reason behind Musk’s surprising decision.
‘The board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly,’ wrote Agrawal.
‘We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks.
‘We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.’
Yet Musk then changed his mind, amid days spent posting a flurry of tweets suggesting changes to Twitter, and conducting online polls – some serious, some seemingly in jest.
Had he taken a board seat, he would have been limited in how much of the company’s shares he could own, with a 14.9 percent cap.
Musk could now remain a passive investor or plan a hostile takeover of the company.
Some on social media also wondered whether the South Africa-born businessman’s complex network of business interests could have raised issues during the background check.
Parag Agrawal (left), the CEO of Twitter, announced on Sunday that Elon Musk will not join the board. Musk became the company’s majority shareholder this week after it was revealed he purchased a 9.2 percent stake in the social media giant earlier this week and was subsequently named to the company’s board of directors
Musk, 50, is pictured on Thursday at the official opening of Tesla’s factory in Texas
The second tweet about deleting ‘w’ saw Musk give two options without no as an answer, with 55.8 percent saying ‘yes’ and 44.2 percent ‘of course’ of 445,158 votes to-date
Twitter’s shares closed on Friday at $46.23 after surging above $50 following news of Musk’s stake in the company.
On Saturday, Musk had suggested changes to the Twitter Blue premium subscription service, including slashing its price, banning advertising and giving an option to pay in the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
He also tweeted: ‘Delete the w in twitter?’
Elon Musk has decided not to join our board. Here’s what I can share about what happened.
The board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.
We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance. Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.
There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged. The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else’s. Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.
And the billionaire even asked his 80 million followers: ‘Is Twitter dying?’
Agrawal continued: ‘We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance.
‘Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board.’
Agrawal did not say why Musk was not joining the company’s board.
But, he added: ‘I believe this is for the best.
‘We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our board or not.’
The 37-year-old said: ‘Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.’
He warned: ‘There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged.
‘The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else’s.
‘Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.’
Twitter had been due to host Musk for a staff ‘question-and-answer session’ following his appointment.
Musk was also due to give a TED talk on Thursday morning in Vancouver, and it is now uncertain whether that will proceed as planned.
Musk on Saturday continued a week of radical suggestions about changes to the company’s policies.
‘Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie pays $3/month) should get an authentication checkmark,’ he tweeted.
One respondent asked for the cost to be made cheaper, claiming that $3 feeds an entire family in the South American nation.
That prompted Musk to respond again, writing: ‘Maybe even an option to pay in Doge?’
Musk has long enjoyed teasing his 80 million followers with the cryptocurrency, whose logo is a Shiba Inu dog, and which is widely regarded as a joke.
Unlike Bitcoin – the most valuable form of crypto, which is worth around $43,320 as of April 10, Dogecoin is currently worth $0.16.
Agrawal is pictured with his wife and daughter. The 37-year-old CEO said he felt it was for the best that Musk does not join the board
Twitter’s new largest shareholder suggested letting users pay for the premium Twitter Blue with Dogecoins on Saturday. It is unclear if the tweet was sent before or after he told the board he would not be joining them
Elon Musk previously suggested using ‘joke’ cryptocurrency Dogecoin as a payment method for Twitter’s premium Blue service.
Dogecoin is widely seen as a joke cryptocurrency, with one Dogecoin worth $0.16 as of April 10
Dogecoin is widely regarded as a joke cryptocurrency, with one of the coins worth just $0.16 USD as of April 10 – compared to one Bitcoin being worth more than $43,300 on the same date
The Tesla CEO was named to Twitter’s board of directors after tweeting several polls on hot-button issues within the company, including a question about whether it should implement an edit button.
Agrawal announced Musk’s board membership on the social media on Tuesday, saying the billionaire brings ‘great value’ to the company.
‘I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,’ Agrawal wrote.
‘He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!’
Musk responded to the CEO, saying: ‘Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!’
Other board members seemed receptive to Musk – who has 80 million Twitter followers – joining their ranks, with several issuing welcome messages online, including platform founder Jack Dorsey.
Twitter board members, including founder Jack Dorsey, seemed excited about Musk’s appointment
Several, including Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, posted messages of welcome to the platform
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor said they were excited to work with Musk
‘I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,’ Dorsey tweeted.
‘Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.’
Board chair and Salesforce Co-CEO Bret Taylor echoed the sentiment, saying: ‘Welcome to the Twitter board, @elonmusk! We are all excited to work with you and build the future of Twitter together.’
Taylor’s post was retweeted by fellow board members Mimi Alemayehou, Senior Vice President for Public-Private Partnership at Mastercard; Martha Lane Fox, Founder and Chairperson of Lucky Voice Group; and Stanford University professor Dr. Fei-Fei Li.
Omid Kordestani, the board’s executive chairman and a current member, wrote: ‘Welcome @elonmusk!’
The four remaining board members – Former World Bank President Robert Zoellick; Invoia Capital general partner Patrick Pichette; 1stdibs.com Inc. CEO David Rosenblatt; and Egon Durban, Co-CEO of Silver Lake – did not publicly comment on Musk’s appointment to the board.
Twitter stocks have surged since mid-March when Musk purchased his stake
In the first post, Musk seemingly took aim at the company’s lax remote working policies, saying he came up with the plan ‘since no one shows up anyway.’ So far, 91.1 percent of 923,459 respondents voted in favor of the plan
Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021, is Twitter’s first subscription service and offers ‘exclusive access to premium features’ on a monthly subscription basis, Twitter says. It is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The features include bookmarks, and a ‘preview’ option which lets subscribers see what a tweet will look like, and undo any errors, for 30 seconds before it goes live.
The social media network confirmed it is finally working on a long-requested edit button last week, after Musk suggested that too.
Musk also suggested that users who sign up for Twitter Blue should pay significantly less than the current $2.99 a month, and should get an authentication checkmark as well as an option to pay in local currency.
‘Price should probably be ~$2/month, but paid 12 months up front & account doesn’t get checkmark for 60 days (watch for credit card chargebacks) & suspended with no refund if used for scam/spam,’ Musk said in a tweet.
‘And no ads,’ Musk suggested. ‘The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.’
Musks musings came after he tweeted several polls to his millions of followers on the social media platform on Saturday.
The outspoken Tesla CEO, known for his social media antics, initially asked if he should transform the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters into a homeless shelter, before suggesting the removal of the letter ‘w’ in Twitter.
In the first post, Musk seemingly took aim at the company’s lax remote working policies, saying he came up with the plan ‘since no one shows up anyway.’
The result suggests overwhelming support for the prospective undertaking – with 91.1 percent of more than 923,459 respondents voting in favor of the plan.
The second tweet about deleting ‘w’ saw Musk give two options – without ‘no’ as an answer.
It resulted in 55.8 percent saying ‘yes’, and 44.2 percent ‘of course’.
It comes weeks after Twitter executives – who offered staffers the option of working from home ‘forever’ during the pandemic – reopened the offices on March 15, with remote work remaining an option for staffers.
‘It’s been almost two years since we closed our offices and travel and I’m excited to announce that we’re ready to fully open up business travel and all our offices around the world!’ Agrawal wrote in a note to employees posted to Twitter on March 3.
‘Business travel is back effective immediately, and office openings will start on March 15,’ he wrote.
In the statement, Agrawal, who was promoted to CEO of the San Francisco-based company in November, said that he would be honoring a policy put in place by former head Jack Dorsey during the early days of the pandemic, that said staffers could work remotely ‘forever’ if they wanted to.
In the statement, Agrawal, who was promoted to CEO of the San Francisco-based company in November, said he would be honoring a policy put in place by former head exec Jack Dorsey during the early days of the pandemic that allowed staffers to work remotely indefinitely
‘Our top priority since the beginning of the pandemic has been to keep you all safe and this will continue,’ Agrawal wrote.
‘Now we are returning to a stage where you’re living your lives, adjusting to local health guidelines, and deciding what works best for you.
‘So, the decisions about where you work, whether you feel safe traveling for business, and what events you attend, should be yours,’ he added, in a sentence set in bold.
‘As we open back up, our approach remains the same.
‘Wherever you feel most productive and creative is where you will work and that include working from home full-time forever,’ the CEO wrote, in another bolded sentence.
‘Office every day? That works too. Some days in the office, some days from home? Of course.’
Staffers at the San Francisco-headquarter company now have the option to come into the office – a policy Musk seemingly took aim at with the Saturday poll. Pictured is Twitters San Francisco office last summer
Prior to posting the poll, Musk also suggested further changes to Twitter’s business models in a series of tweets suggesting tweaks to the platform’s premium Blue service, including a cheaper subscription price, banning ads and offering the option to pay in cryptocurrency
Agrawal, however, warned that ‘distributed working will be much, much harder’ and said ‘there will be lots of challenges’ amid the new policy.
Agrawal went on to tout the advantages of having staffers in the same physical space, where they can experience the ‘company culture,’ and said that visits to the office will ‘bring that culture to life in such a powerful way.’
The CEO then signed off, expressing hope that many would indeed return to their office desks.
‘I look forward to seeing you all back at the office or perhaps at an event, somewhere in your home city, or mine?
‘Can’t wait… Parag.’
More than a month later, as Silicon Valley’s tech workers are starting to filter back to the office as COVID-19 cases plummet, it looks as if the CEO’s faith in staffers’ desire to return to work in-person was misplaced.
Many tech companies are now forcing staff back to the office, rather than simply giving them the option.
Google, for instance, told employees last month that it would begin requiring employees to return in person at least three days a week – a policy that went into effect this past week.
Apple similarly announced that by April 11, employees will have to work from the office at least one day a week.
Source: Read Full Article