Twitter owner Elon Musk confirmed Tuesday night that he will step down as the company’s CEO, but only if he identifies a successor, addressing for the first time directly a Twitter poll he created this week, which has millions of people in it users voted for his downfall.
in one tweetMusk said he will resign “as soon as I find someone stupid enough to do the job!”
He added that after stepping down as CEO, Musk will lead “the software and server teams” at Twitter, indicating he may continue to have significant influence over the company’s decision-making.
The announcement comes after more than a day of silence over the poll following its outcome. On Monday, after more than 17 million users voted — 57.5% of whom said Musk should step down — the billionaire only indirectly addressed the results. He suggested that future Twitter polls could be limited to paying users of Twitter Blue, the company’s subscription service.
Musk’s poll asking users whether he should step down as CEO came after massive backlash over Twitter’s abrupt suspension of several journalists covering him, as well as Twitter’s decision to not link to other social media platforms like banning and re-banning Facebook and Instagram; and Mastodon, a fast-growing Twitter rival that has grown eightfold in size since October.
Musk’s short tenure as CEO has led to far-reaching, at times unpredictable, changes at one of the world’s most influential social media companies.
Under his leadership, Twitter fired the majority of its employees, alienated major advertisers, alienated former President Donald Trump after his suspension following the 1/6 Capitol riots, and issued internal communications to journalists about Twitter’s activities before Musk took over the company.
Musk forced the remaining employees to commit to getting “extremely hardcore” at their jobs and stopped enforcing Twitter’s policy against Covid-19 misinformation.
Within days, Twitter launched a paid verification feature that was immediately rigged by satirical accounts posing as verified big brands, athletes, and other public figures on the platform, and then had to disable it again.
Musk’s penchant for making big product changes based on little more than informal Twitter polls has underscored his ad hoc and improvisational management style. But this approach is facing growing criticism from many Twitter users. Last week, Twitter suspended several journalists who covered Musk’s permanent suspension of an account that tracked his jet.
Growing criticism of Musk culminated in Sunday’s poll, which has served as an effective, if unscientific, referendum on Musk’s dealings with the company since he completed his purchase of Twitter in late October.