Twitter users vote in favour of Musk resigning
Elon Musk said he may need the rest of this year to put things right at Twitter Inc. before handing off to a new chief executive officer, potentially prolonging concerns the billionaire is being distracted from leading Tesla Inc.
“I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place and the product road map is clearly laid out,” Musk said via a remote video link to the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday.
“I’m guessing toward the end of this year should be a good timing to find someone else to run the company,” the 51-year-old said. “I think it should be in stable condition around the end of this year.”
Since taking over in October, Musk has said that he plans to step aside at some point, but had never specified when. The billionaire executive embarked on a search for a new CEO for Twitter in December, a person familiar with the search said at the time. In the meantime, his lack of presence at Tesla has drawn the ire of some investors, who have called on him to pay more attention to the electric-vehicle maker.
Musk’s involvement with the social media company contributed to a $720 billion wipeout in Tesla shares last year. The stock has rallied about 70 per cent this year as investors regained their appetite for growth companies and amid signs that demand for its electric vehicles is rebounding. Tesla shares rose about 2 per cent in early New York trading Wednesday.
The CEO of Tesla, Twitter and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. said the two manufacturing businesses are better positioned now than before. SpaceX is “able to make a lot of progress even if I spend less time there,” he said, while Tesla demands less time now than it did a few years ago.
“Tesla went through some very difficult times where it was on the ragged edge of survival,” Musk said. “It does require much less work to operate Tesla now, versus say in the 2017 to 2019 timeframe.”
Musk committed to handing off the reins to Twitter after running a poll of his followers in December. Close to 60 per cent were in favor of him stepping down, motivated in part by concern about him being distracted from Tesla. At the time, he said it was a matter of finding “someone foolish enough to take the job.”
Still, Musk has a track record of missing his own deadlines and promised delivery times, including for new products such as the Cybertruck or software capabilities such as fully autonomous driving.
Musk was interviewed virtually by Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, the United Arab Emirates’ minister of cabinet affairs who is chairman of the summit. Musk took Twitter private in a $44 billion deal, and is the world’s second-richest man with a personal fortune of $187 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
At the summit, Musk described Twitter as “still somewhat of a startup in reverse.” Lots of work is needed to get Twitter to a “stable position,” he said.
Musk, who is known to have slept in the Tesla factory during particularly demanding periods, said he works seven days a week and sleeps six hours a night. Work typically occupies him from the moment he wakes until he goes to bed, he said.
“It’s not my intention to work like crazy,” he said. “A mere 80-hour working week would be fine. That is what I would aspire to.”
Musk spoke broadly about his vision for Twitter and his efforts to rid the platform of misinformation. He said he wanted Twitter to be a source of truth and he encouraged companies, other CEOs and ministers to speak authentically, even if it draws attacks.
“Having some criticism is fine,” he said. “It’s really not that bad. I’m constantly attacked on Twitter. I don’t mind.”
Asked whether he limited social-media usage for his children, Musk said, “I haven’t tried to restrict social media from my kids, but that may have been a mistake.”
Moments after the interview, Musk was back tweeting to his almost 130 million followers.