A Monday morning tweet shared by Twitter’s Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, has revealed that Elon Musk is no longer going to join Twitter’s board of directors.
In a written statement to Twitter’s staff members later made public, the head of the social media giant says that Musk turned down a board seat on Saturday morning, April 9th the company had initially offered him. It was also the day Musk’s appointment was supposed to take effect.
Agrawal in his announcement goes on to conclude that he believes this decision was, “for the best” and that the company would, “remain open to his input.”
Last week, news emerged that the billionaire Tesla and Space X founder and CEO had become Twitter’s largest shareholder after acquiring 73.48Million shares for a 9.2% ownership stake worth $2.89Billion (333.36Billion Kshs) according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C) filling dated March 14th, 2022.
Elon’s decision to back out comes just a week after the platform said it planned to appoint the Tesla chief to its board for a term that ends in 2024, labelling him as, “a passionate believer and intense critic of the service,” which is what they need to make them stronger in the long term.
What has prompted Elon Musk to make this decision?
It’s not clear why Mr. Musk decided not to be a part of Twitter’s board especially since he seems so full of ideas on how to change the social media network.
He’s also tweeted out suggestions such as giving verification checkmarks to paid Twitter Blue subscribers and keeping it free of advertisements. He further proposed a reduction in pricing for that subscription service, saying it should be affordable and in local currency, and gave an option for people to pay up using the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
Launched back in June 2021, Twitter Blue is the social media platform’s first subscription service for those folks willing to pay up for exclusive access to special features such as an “Undo Tweet” feature, customized Twitter app icons, Ad-free articles and the ability to add bookmarks for tweets.
NOTE: Twitter’s Blue service is only available in the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
Mr. Musk then responded to this developing story in his usual hilarious ways by tweeting an emoji of a face covering its mouth and as expected, he deleted the tweet a few minutes later.
Staying out could prove decisive for Mr. Musk in the long run
There’s no telling why Elon bought such a large stake in Twitter or what he really wants from the company. If he just wanted a say on how the platform is managed, then board membership makes sense. However, being a board member comes with restrictions.
As part of the deal for Elon Musk to join the board, he had committed to not acquiring more than 14.9% of the company’s shares during his term there.
It’s a restriction some may say was aimed at controlling his influence over the company. Well, he’s not joining the board anymore, meaning that limitation is no longer in place.
It basically leaves the door wide open for Musk to potentially take up an aggressive stance by buying up more of Twitter’s stocks.
Not to sound cynical, but Mr. Musk is so damn wealthy (currently worth $262.6Billion according to Forbes Magazine) that he could in reality afford to buy the social media giant outright, very comfortably in fact.
Elon Musk will forever be an outspoken Twitter critic
A board seat in my opinion would have also meant that he had to take a more conservative/quiet approach towards Twitter and possibly stop tweeting about his ideas for the company and publicly opposing its policies and operations…something we know is not in Musk’s DNA as a human being.
Musk continues to describe himself as a “free speech absolutist” and says he doesn’t think Twitter is living up to free speech principles…an opinion shared by Donald Trump followers and several right wing political parties who’ve had their accounts suspended for violating the company’s content rules.
Twitter in its defense, has come out to say its policy decisions aren’t determined by either its board or shareholders and has no plans of reversing any of its existing policies.
What happens next?
Despite not joining the board of directors, Elon Musk will still be a powerful voice in Twitter’s future. The fact that he’s not on the board means he’ll likely exercise his influence in public, whether its through more financial moves or more heated criticism of the company’s choices.