Musk appoints himself CEO of Twitter as employees brace for mass layoffs

Elon Musk has appointed himself CEO of Twitter and dissolved its board of directors, it was revealed in a company filing on Monday, as Twitter employees brace for extensive layoffs under a new restructuring that could target up to a quarter of staff.

The Washington Post reported on Monday that Musk’s team has been discussing letting go of 25% of the company’s workforce in a first round of layoffs.

The reported layoffs come as the tech billionaire overhauls the company after buying it for $44bn last week. Celebrity lawyer Alex Spiro, a longtime Musk legal representative, led the conversations about the impending job cuts, according to the report.

Upon buying Twitter last week, Musk moved quickly to seize control, firing top Twitter executives including chief executive Parag Agrawal, finance chief Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde.

Musk has also fired Twitter’s board of directors and appointed himself as the board’s sole member, it was revealed on Monday in a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk later said in a tweet that the dissolution of the board was “just temporary”.

Musk previously changed his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit”, alluding to his new role.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company had more than 7,000 employees at the end of 2021, according to a regulatory filing, and a quarter of the headcount amounts to nearly 2,000 employees.

Reports that Musk planned to cut significant parts of the social media company’s workforce have been swirling for weeks. The Washington Post earlier reported Musk told prospective investors he planned to eliminate nearly 75% of Twitter’s staff in an effort to pay down the debt burden that has grown substantially since the start of his acquisition.

Musk later denied those claims, telling employees he would not cut such a large portion of the staff.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that Musk has ordered job cuts across the company, with some teams to be trimmed more than others and that layoffs would take place before 1 November, when employees were scheduled to receive stock grants as part of their compensation. “This is false,” Musk tweeted in response to the story.

Even before Musk began his quest to purchase Twitter in April of this year, the company had faced economic struggles and by July had “significantly slowed hiring” amid a wider economic downturn in the tech industry. The company was anticipated to lay off around 25% of its staff regardless of the Musk takeover.

An air of uncertainty has surrounded Twitter and its staff since Musk began his battle with the company earlier this year, offering to buy it before attempting to walk away from the deal over allegations Twitter understated the number of bot and spam accounts on its platform. Musk ultimately decided to go through with the deal, making the purchase official last week and immediately starting his overhaul of the company.

The drama around Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has fostered low morale at the company, leading employees to quit in droves in recent months. The rumors have created concern about the impact of mass layoffs on day-to-day operations at Twitter, including security and safety capabilities.

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Musk appoints himself CEO of Twitter as employees brace for mass layoffs