Dec 19, 2022 - Economy

Twitter poll: Majority says Musk should step down as CEO

Illustration of the Twitter bird flying past Elon Musk, leaving droppings on his shoulder.

Photo illustration: Maura Losch. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

A majority of respondents — 57.5% — to a Twitter poll posted by Elon Musk on Sunday said that he should "step down as head" of Twitter.

Why it matters: His potential resignation as the head of Twitter could end one of the most chaotic and controversial tenures ever for a CEO of a major U.S. company.

Details: The poll, which launched Sunday at 6:20pm ET, concluded with a majority of the more than 17.5 million respondents saying Musk should step down.

  • Musk has amassed more than 120 million followers on the platform, making him one of its biggest voices.
  • "As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it," Musk tweeted Sunday after posting the poll.

Between the lines: News of Musk's resignation wouldn't be shocking, considering he has long dismissed the value of corporate titles — and had recently assured anxious Tesla investors that he planned to step down eventually.

  • "The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive," Musk tweeted Sunday. He also suggested that the company was on "the fast lane to bankruptcy since May," even though the company at the time had more than $2 billion of cash in the bank.

But, but, but: Musk still owns Twitter, so any new CEO still would report to him.

The big picture: Musk's potentially brief tenure as CEO was marred by daily controversies that drove lots of bad press and caused advertisers to flee the platform.

  • The billionaire businessman had to delay the launch of Twitter's new subscription product following a botched initial rollout.
  • A slew of world leaders and celebrities left Twitter, citing the chaos around Musk's ownership.
  • Just yesterday, Musk said users no longer would be able to mention other social media accounts in their profiles, leading to the temporary suspension of Y Combinator founder Paul Graham.

The suspension of journalists last week was a near-breaking point for the media, which has long relied on Twitter to grow audiences.

  • To many, the arbitrary bans suggested that Musk's "free speech" values don't apply equally to accounts that post things Musk doesn't like.

Be smart: The Twitter role has put stress on Musk's personal finances and his other businesses.

  • Tesla's stock has taken a massive hit in response to Musk's Twitter takeover. Tesla shares shot up nearly 5% in premarket trading Monday when the poll closed.
  • Musk has had to liquidate billions of dollars in Tesla stock to finance his Twitter deal and to keep the company afloat. With advertisers fleeing the platform, he has begun asking investors for more money.
  • As of last week, Musk is no longer the richest man in the world.

The bottom line: Musk so far has abided by the results of his Twitter polls, including the reinstatement of former President Trump. But he's also known to change his mind.

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