Elon Musk on Thursday, May 11, said he has hired someone to replace him as boss of Twitter and his newly named X Corporation parent. Twitter users in December voted to oust owner Musk as chief executive in an unscientific poll he organized and promised to honor, just weeks after he took charge of the social media giant.
“Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter,” Musk said in a tweet, without disclosing the name of his replacement but adding that she would start in the job in about six weeks. “My role will transition to being exec chair & chief technology officer, overseeing product, software & system operations,” the billionaire added.
Musk’s running of Twitter has been criticized as taking his attention away from his jobs heading Tesla and SpaceX. However, he appears to be “finally reading the room” regarding “this Twitter nightmare” and the “impossible task” of trying to balance running Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.
If Musk follows through on the announcement, he will be belatedly fulfilling the promise he made to honor the results of his Twitter poll. A total of 57.5 percent of more than 17 million accounts voted for him to step down. “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Musk tweeted at the time.
Musk has fully owned Twitter since late October and has repeatedly courted controversy as CEO, sacking most of its staff, readmitting far-right figures to the platform, suspending journalists and charging for previously free services.
NBCUniversal head of global advertising and partnerships, Linda Yaccarino, was a potential candidate for the Twitter chief job, according to a Wall Street Journal report. “I think whoever he hired deserves our compassion and pity,” said independent tech analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group. “The real test will be whether he can step aside and let her do her job.”
Really letting go?
Musk remaining as chairman and chief technology officer at Twitter could give users, employees and advertisers the impression he is still in charge at Twitter, making it tough to win back trust, the analyst reasoned. “The situation really does require him to fully step out,” Enderle said of Musk releasing Twitter’s reins. “Otherwise, people won’t believe she will be free to do what she needs to do.”
Musk recently made the tech firm part of an “X” shell corporation, getting rid of the Twitter company name but continuing to use it for the platform. The controversial tech magnate has talked publicly of using Twitter to build an all-purpose “X” application that combines messages, payments and more. This week, he announced the addition of encrypted direct messages on Twitter as well as plans for audio and video call features.
The San Francisco-based company, which generates most of its revenue from advertising, is set to earn less than $3 billion in 2023, down from $4 billion in 2022, according to Insider Intelligence.