Elon Musk says no one capable of running Twitter but some already queuing up for top job

Former Meta executive Sheryl Sandberg is among the suggested names but it remains to be seen if the billionaire will honour the outcome of his poll

Elon Musk said Twitter has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Reuters
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Elon Musk said there was no one willing and capable of running Twitter. But if he is good to his word and walks away from the top leadership position at the social media company he bought two months ago, a number of people are already raising their hands.

Mr Musk created an online poll on Sunday night asking his Twitter followers whether he should step down as chief executive of the microblogging platform.

By Monday morning, the response of about 58 per cent of participants was yes.

The mercurial entrepreneur has been almost single-handedly running Twitter since he bought the company in October, having fired or accepted resignations from almost all of the top executives since then.

Mr Musk said early on that he did not plan to stay on permanently as chief executive and he has surrounded himself with a few trusted people, some of whom have suggested they would be ready to take on what he calls a thankless task.

“No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor,” Mr Musk tweeted.

He said the social media platform had “been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May”.

In the early days of Mr Musk’s takeover, he created a War Room, or fix-it committee, to revamp Twitter. The committee included Jason Calacanis, an investor and podcaster, and former PayPal Holdings executive David Sacks.

Another Musk loyalist who has been present since the early days is Andreessen Horowitz partner Sriram Krishnan, also a former Twitter executive.

Mr Calacanis ran his own Twitter poll asking whether people thought he or Mr Sacks should run Twitter, or a combination of both of them. Mr Sacks garnered 31 per cent of the vote, with 39 per cent going to “other”.

A general view of the Twitter poll result, displayed on a mobile phone in London. PA

Mr Calacanis didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr Musk didn’t respond to requests for comment on whether he was following through with honouring the outcome of the poll and who might replace him.

At the time Mr Musk first moved into Twitter’s headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco and began making wholesale changes to the company, sources said Mr Sacks, Mr Calacanis and Mr Krishnan were given internal accounts and helped to identify those deemed talented enough to stay on.

They were also part of the initial pitch to advertisers in an effort to stem the flow of clients pulling advertisements.

Mr Calacanis and Mr Sacks both have denied ever holding a formal role at the company.

As chief executive of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies, Mr Musk could also tap into talent at either of the other companies he leads.

He has been known to shuffle staff among his businesses before and brought in executives from electric car maker Tesla to Twitter to help with the transition.

Omead Afshar, previously the leader at Tesla’s Austin plant, was moved to SpaceX to work on Mr Musk’s ambitious Starship deep-space rocket.

And Tom Zhu, who joined Tesla in 2014 to help build its Supercharger network and most recently has been leading the car maker’s Asia-Pacific operations, is back in Austin, with some of his engineering team from China with him to assist in overseeing the ramp up of Giga Texas, a US production centre for the Model Y and the coming Cybertruck.

Others have been volunteering but have gained little traction.

Lex Fridman, a respected artificial intelligence academic and research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a fan of Mr Musk offered himself up, but was given a dour response.

Mr Musk replied: “You must like pain a lot. One catch: you have to invest your life savings in Twitter and it has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy since May. Still want the job?”

The Financial Times suggested that Sheryl Sandberg could fit the bill. The longtime chief operating officer at Facebook was credited as the driving force behind the boom and advertising prowess at the company, which has since been renamed Meta Platforms.

The Financial Times suggested that Sheryl Sandberg could fit the bill. The longtime chief operating officer at Facebook was credited as the driving force behind the boom and advertising prowess at the company.

If Ms Sandberg doesn’t want the job, the FT suggested Sarah Friar, who was formerly chief financial officer of payments company Square.

Mr Musk has previously said he wants a “technologist”, someone with talents across software and servers to take on the role, given those areas are at the core of Twitter’s business.

Updated: December 29, 2022, 8:14 AM