Elon Musk joins Twitter board after taking 9% stake


Elon Musk joins Twitter’s board a day after revealing he took a 9% stake in the social media platform.

Twitter said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday that it reached a deal with Mr. Musk on Monday that would give Tesla’s billionaire chief a seat on its board, with the term expiring at its 2024 annual meeting of shareholders.

Mr. Musk, alone or as part of a group, will not be permitted to own more than 14.9% of Twitter’s outstanding shares while a member of the board and for 90 days thereafter.

Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal said in a tweet that the company had spoken to Mr. Musk in recent weeks and “it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our board.”

“He is both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service, which is exactly what we need on @Twitter and in the boardroom to make us stronger in the long run,” Agrawal continued.

Placing Mr. Musk on Twitter’s board and limiting the number of shares he can acquire as a director may be a strategic move on Twitter’s part, as he has become its largest shareholder and has openly surrendered questioning the social media platform’s dedication to free speech.

Mr Musk, who has 80m Twitter followers, bought 73.5m shares, worth around $3bn (£2.2bn).

He also raised the possibility with his massive and loyal Twitter account that he could create a rival social media network.

Mr. Musk did not speak specifically about any Twitter rule changes he might be pushing. He tweeted on Tuesday that he wanted to make “meaningful improvements to Twitter in the coming months!” Late Monday, he launched a poll asking if users wanted an edit button.

Twitter’s board will have 12 members with Mr. Musk. Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO last year and his term on the board expires at an upcoming shareholders’ meeting on May 25.

Three other board members have terms set to expire but have been appointed to retain their seats.

Mr Dorsey tweeted on Tuesday that Mr Musk and Mr Agrawal are “both leading with their hearts, and they will be an amazing team”.

“I’m so glad Elon is joining the Twitter Forum! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,” Dorsey said.

In March, he told his millions of Twitter followers that he was “seriously considering” creating his own social media platform and had repeatedly clashed with financial regulators over his use of Twitter.

He is locked in a bitter row with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his ability to post on Twitter. His attorney has argued in court filings that the SEC is infringing on the Tesla CEO’s First Amendment rights to free speech.

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