Elon Musk is destroying Twitter and Twitter is destroying Elon Musk’s life and fortune. Now that the man himself has publicly agreed to switch horses midstream, who will be the next CEO of Twitter?
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job,” Musk tweeted on Tuesday. “After that, I will just run the software and servers teams.” The confirmation came more than a day after the Tesla CEO ran a Twitter poll asking if users want him to step down. Of the respondents, 57.5% said he should hit the road.
Since the poll, Musk has made numerous comments about what a tough job it will be for anyone who wants it. So much has happened since Musk first offered to buy the social media company in April, it seems like many people have forgotten that Musk himself didn’t want the job and he fought tooth and nail to get out of his agreement. He also said in November that he planned to eventually find a new leader for Twitter, and he’s probably regretting not making an offer to someone (anyone!) at the time.
Now Twitter is in a much worse position than before. In its last earnings report as a public company, it posted a loss of $270 million. As part of financing the purchase, Musk has added significant debt to the balance sheets along with $1.5 billion a year in interest payments.
But the troubles at Tesla are likely a bigger headache for Musk. More than half of the company’s stock value has been wiped out since Musk first offered to purchase Twitter. Its value has hit a two-year low. And on Monday, Wall Street analysts at the firm Oppenheimer & Co downgraded Tesla’s stock, saying:
We believe banning journalists without consistent defensible standards or clear communication in an environment where many people believe free speech is at risk is too much for a majority of consumers to continue supporting Mr. Musk/TSLA, particularly people ideologically aligned with climate change mitigation.
The analyst comments come after a tumultuous week in which Musk made erratic policy changes that seemed aimed at banning journalists from Twitter. Over the weekend, he managed to piss off basically everyone by prohibiting Twitter users from promoting their accounts on other social media platforms. The policy was quickly reversed, but the damage was done. The desperation of seemingly trying to block the exits for users who’ve had enough and the blatant violation of his own free speech standards even offended the richest Silicon Valley ghouls who’ve been cheering on Musk’s moves as a valuable experiment for testing how terribly a CEO can treat their employees.
Executives who are tired of listening to their staff’s concerns may want to watch Elon burn it down as a case study, but that doesn’t mean they want to take part in the exercise. They’d much rather see if he makes it out alive first. So yeah, Musk is going to have a tough time finding a qualified person to take over as CEO who is simultaneously willing to implement the big boss’s whims and take the public backlash for the chaos they inevitably create.
Who will take this nightmare job? We have some guesses. They’re probably all wrong, but we’re hedging our bets by picking individuals as well as the category of CEO candidate that they fall into. If our specific picks fall short, we’re confident that someone like them will be chosen or at least considered. Click through to read the wild speculation and if you’re actually on this list turn around and run while you can.