Following a tsunami of controversies during his tenure as CEO of Twitter, Elon Musk is now looking to pass the torch to a successor by the end of 2023, according to comments he made on Feb. 15.
However, investors at Tesla are expressing concerns that his attention on Twitter is distracting him from their own issues, including demand and competition.
Changing of the guard
After declaring his intentions to find a successor, Musk also said that he needed to “stabilize” the social media company before proceeding with the replacement, CNBC reported.
“I think I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place and that the product roadmap is clearly laid out,” Musk said at the World Government Summit in Dubai.
“I’m guessing probably towards the end of this year should be good timing to find someone else to run the company,” he added. “I think it should be in stable condition around the end of this year.”
After acquiring Twitter in October 2022, Musk later hinted that he does not anticipate being CEO of Twitter “permanently,” and expressed a desire for someone else to take over. In November 2022, Tesla director James Murdoch told a court that Musk did have someone identified as a potential successor, but did not disclose who it was, Reuters reported.
A poll Musk tweeted last December saw a vast majority of some 17.5 million respondents vote for his departure from the social media platform. Musk then followed up with another tweet, saying that he would have to find “someone foolish enough” to accept the position.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers team,” Musk said on Twitter.
Musk’s handling of Twitter has been mired with numerous issues including mass staff layoffs that saw thousands of the company’s employees sacked, which forced Twitter to call for their return of some of them.
The platform also saw more and more advertisers leave following new moderation policies set by Musk.
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Fallout of Musk’s Twitter focus
Investors at Tesla have become worried that Musk is too distracted by Twitter, as the company goes through a series of its own issues. One such problem was a fall in demand, with Tesla shares sliding down around nine percent.
“Elon Musk is doing Elon Musk things,” Canaccord Genuity’s George Gianarikas wrote. “Some of this is Twitter-related drama, much is not,” he added.
Tesla had to implement steep discounts on certain EVs to compensate for the loss of demand and consumer interest.
Concerning his Twitter acquisition, Musk said, “I thought about creating something from scratch, but I thought Twitter would perhaps accelerate progress versus creating something from scratch by three to five years,” adding that, “And I think we are seeing just a tremendous technology acceleration that three to five years is actually worth a lot.”
Musk expressed that he was “a little worried about the direction and the effect of social media on the world, and especially Twitter.”
Though he has labeled himself a “free speech absolutist,” Musk said on Wednesday that social media companies must “adhere to the laws of other countries.”
Recently, Twitter apparently obliged to a law by the Indian government calling for platforms and social media companies to block links and videos of a controversial documentary criticizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NBC News reported.