In Silicon Valley, where board positions at listed companies are rarely arranged through equity investments, Twitter is an exception. The social network has seen changes in its board of directors in recent years, as it has faced slowing revenue growth, active investor controversy and intense political conflict. straight.
But now, the Board of Directors has more Elon Musk.
Over the past few months, the richest person in the world has gone from being one of the loudest people on Twitter to being the company’s largest shareholder and board member. That change has left Twitter employees and analysts speculating about Musk’s plans for the $37 billion company. Furthermore, Twitter’s barely “drama” board is likely to get more attention.
Matt Navarra, social media consultant and industry analyst, said: “He launched rockets into space and helped solve the world’s energy crisis. He’s about to find out. censoring content on social media platforms is harder than either of those.”
Musk will be a very special new member to Twitter’s Board of Directors. He is not an expert in advertising – Twitter’s money-making engine, and he has many times had problems with the authorities – who are very interested in the major social networks.
Jack Dorsey – former CEO of Twitter, will leave the Board of Directors at the end of this year when his term expires. Unlike Dorsey and Musk, the 10 members of the Board of Directors are very private, they rarely share anything on Twitter or even post anything.
Twitter shares are up more than 17% since Musk revealed the new investment. This is an indication that investors believe his vision and influence will help the company achieve its ambitious growth goals. Last year, under pressure from proactive investor Elliott Management, Twitter set a goal of reaching 315 million daily users and doubling revenue by the end of 2023.
However, some analysts doubt that the public actively following Musk would be a good thing for Twitter. Tom Forte, senior research analyst at DA Davidson, said: “This investment doesn’t change what Twitter needs to grow in stature and achievement, but that’s not the part Twitter is missing. .”
The story of Twitter’s leadership to this point is eventful. Dorsey began his second term as CEO of Twitter in 2015, when the board was dominated by Silicon Valley workers and only one woman. He encouraged the diversification of executives and the following year, the company replaced the two original investors with the presence of Pepsi CEO Hugh Johnston and Martha Lane Fox – British internet entrepreneurs.
In 2020, as Twitter’s stock price tumbled, activist investor Elliott Management targeted the company and Dorsey specifically. Elliott pushed for Dorsey to leave the board and complained that he was also running Square. In March 2020, Elliott joined Twitter’s board of directors, along with private equity firm Silver Lake.
In 2021, Dorsey stepped down as CEO and transferred management rights to Parag Agarwal – Twitter’s technical director. At the same time, the CEO of Salesforce – Bret Taylor became the chairman of the Board of Directors.
“Despite all those changes, the most tumultuous ‘era’ of the Twitter board may yet to come. Musk’s presence in it is likely to be controversial and ‘drama’,” Navarra said.
Elon Musk has revealed some details of his plans on Twitter. Since January 31, when he quietly “picked up” Twitter shares, Musk has criticized the company for not adhering to free speech rules. More recently, he promised that Twitter’s next board meeting would be “very fiery.”
Some analysts predict that Musk will play an active role in Twitter’s product development and policy moves, including the decision to ban former President Donald Trump from using the platform permanently. .
According to Ali Mogharabi, senior equities analyst at Morningstar Investment Service, Musk can easily convince the company to relax content moderation. He predicts, Musk will probably push to allow Mr. Trump to work again. Still, it’s not clear what kind of influence Musk has while on the board, when he controls about a tenth of the companies.
Several Twitter employees said they were concerned about Musk’s stance on content moderation, as well as allegations of racism at a Tesla factory. Most people who work at Twitter know that Musk will get a seat on the board minutes before the news is announced, according to multiple people at the company.
From now on, employees will be able to get a more detailed view of the decision-making process at Twitter through Musk’s comments, according to Karen Brenner, executive director of law and business initiatives. at New York University. She added: “Boards often have limits on what members are allowed to make public and a code of conduct and confidentiality agreements. But those constraints may not work for Musk.”
No matter how mysterious Musk’s plans for Twitter are, perhaps those secrets will soon be made public.
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