Elon Musk says he will step down as Twitter CEO when he finds a successor
At his other companies, including electric carmaker Tesla and rocket maker SpaceX, Mr. Musk has occasionally appointed a key adviser to run the business in his absence. At SpaceX, the task falls to Gwynne Shotwell, its president and CEO.
At Twitter, Mr. Musk had chosen to run the company himself. He borrowed employees from his other companies, including Tesla and the Boring Company, a tunneling startup, to join him. Steve Davis, president of the Boring Company, has led various cost-cutting initiatives at Twitter. Mr. Musk has rotated people to advise him on legal and financial matters, including investor Antonio Gracias, a former Tesla board member, and Alex Spiro, his personal lawyer.
Mr. Musk has also relied on Tesla and SpaceX employees to handle technical issues as layoffs and resignations have decimated Twitter’s engineering ranks. While at least one Tesla board member said he thought the automaker’s workers would only be briefly deployed on Twitter, Mr. Musk continued to use them, including Sheen Austin, an engineer of Tesla who ran Twitter’s infrastructure organization.
Some of Mr. Musk’s advisers have lobbied to run Twitter. On Sunday, Jason Calacanis, an investor in Mr. Musk’s Twitter, asked his own followers on the platform whether he or venture capitalist David Sacks should be Twitter’s chief executive, or share the job.
Mr Musk, who was in Qatar for the World Cup final this weekend with Jared Kushner, is also looking for new investments in Twitter. After selling $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock last week, its finance team, led by Jared Birchall, the head of its family office, sent out emails to potential investors, a person who has said was approached about investing and who was not authorized to speak publicly.
The emails to potential backers urged them to invest at the $54.20 share price that Mr. Musk paid to buy the company, the person said. But Mr. Musk has since publicly stated that the price he paid for Twitter was more than double what it was worth. The potential fundraising was flagged earlier by Semafor.
Mr. Musk continued to aggressively cut costs on Twitter. On Friday night, the company began a new round of layoffs, according to four people familiar with the actions and documents seen by The New York Times. About 50 employees, mostly from the company’s infrastructure division, were laid off, the sources said. It is unclear how the other divisions were affected.