Elon Musk will not join the board of directors for Twitter after all, according to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who made the announcement in a tweet overnight. Musk, who recently purchased a 9.2% stake in the company, making him the largest single shareholder, was scheduled to join the board on Saturday but decided to pull out at the last minute.
“The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly,” Agrawal tweeted at 11:13 p.m. ET on Sunday.
“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,” Agrawal continued.
But something clearly went wrong between this past Tuesday, when Musk was offered a seat, and Saturday, the day he was supposed to assume his new role on Twitter’s board.
“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 morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best,” Agrawal tweeted.
“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,” Agrawal continued.
Hours later, Musk liked a tweet that read, “Let me break this down for you: Elon became largest shareholder for free speech. Elon was told to play nice and not speak freely.”
Musk, who’s the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of roughly $274 billion, paid about $2.9 billion to gain 9.2% of Twitter’s available stock. But, according to a letter dated April 4, 2022, Musk would have been forbidden from buying more than 14.9% of the company’s common stock if he had assumed his position on the board. That stipulation has led plenty of people on social media to speculate that perhaps Musk wants to buy a larger share of the company.
One thing that’s not mentioned in Agrawal’s note, but could very well have played a role in Musk’s decision not to join the board, is the controversy surrounding Musk’s acquisition of the stock and his failure to promptly report his purchase to financial regulators. Musk was 11 days late to announce his purchase to the SEC, according to The Washington Post—a move that likely earned him a profit of about $156 million. Musk could face a fine, though it will be tiny compared with the billionaire’s total wealth.
Musk had spent the week suggesting he’d cause a major shake-up at Twitter, heavily suggesting he’d add an edit button, something that many users have called for, yet has the potential to cause chaos on the platform. Musk also asked on April 9, the same day he turned down the offer to join the board, whether Twitter was “dying,” an odd question for a man who supposedly has a financial interest in seeing the social media site succeed.
Countless conservative activists have also asked Musk to re-instate people who’ve been banned from Twitter for breaking the site’s rules, most notably former president Donald Trump, who was banned from the social media platform after inciting the insurrection on January 6, 2021 that sought to overturn the presidential election.
Agrawal ended his note Sunday night by trying to sound optimistic about the company’s road ahead, something that Twitter employees worry about given Musk’s suggested meddling with the company—including a recent joke poll about changing the name from Twitter to Titter. Musk is 50 years old, it should be noted.
“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,” Agrawal tweeted.
“Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.”