Elon Musk’s first task after taking over Twitter is to oust his CEO and deputies

According to people familiar with the matter, Twitter chief executive officer Parag Agrawal is among executives planning to leave while Elon Musk finalizes his $44 billion deal to take over the social network.

Also leaving are Vijaya Gadde, head of Legal, Policy and Trust; Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, who joined Twitter in 2017; and Sean Edgett, who has been Twitter’s general counsel since 2012, declined to be named because the information is not public, according to people familiar with the matter.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Agrawal stepped into the CEO role in November when co-founder Jack Dorsey unexpectedly stepped down. Agrawal had been with Twitter for nearly a decade, most recently as chief technology officer, but his career as CEO was quickly cut short by Musk’s arrival as a major shareholder and increasingly vocal antagonist to the current leadership.

After Musk showed up, it became clear that Agrawal was unlikely to keep his job. “I have no faith in management,” Musk said in an early filing on the deal, and the two executives exchanged a few public digs. In May, Musk responded to an Agrawal Twitter thread defending the company’s user metrics by tweeting back a poop emoji.

Text messages revealed during the lawsuit show the two men had a contentious exchange early in the deal process after Musk asked his followers if Twitter was “dying.”

Agrawal confronted him via text message. “You’re free to tweet, ‘Is Twitter dying?’ or anything else about Twitter,” he wrote on April 9, “but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it doesn’t help me make Twitter better in the current context.” Musk countered, “What did you have this week done?” And then: “I’m not going to the board, that’s a waste of time.”

The following week, Musk taunted Agrawal in messages with a friend for being on vacation in Hawaii during contract negotiations. “Shouldn’t he be in a war room right now?!?” Investor Jason Calacanis wrote to Musk. “Does it count to make occasional Zoom calls while sipping fruity cocktails at the Four Seasons?” Musk replied.

Efforts by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to reconcile Musk, a longtime friend of Dorsey’s, and Agrawal after the deal was announced also ended badly. “At least it became clear that you can’t work together,” Dorsey Musk wrote after a group call. “That was clarifying.”

Agrawal will not leave empty-handed. As part of the transaction, the CEO will vest 100% of his unvested stock awards, according to a filing. Research firm Equilar estimates this means he will earn an estimated $42 million, Reuters reported.

As Twitter’s head of legal and policy, Gadde has overseen the creation and enforcement of rules for hundreds of millions of netizens, including celebrities, subject to looser content restrictions under the company’s exemptions from newsworthy posts or communications from world leaders. With the acquisition of Twitter, Musk has promised to turn it into a less restrictive platform for free speech, a move he describes as “essential to a functioning democracy.”

Gadde was hit by a spate of online abuse earlier this year after Musk publicly criticized content-related decisions on Twitter. The company permanently banned former US President Donald Trump in January 2021 after his supporters attacked the Capitol. Musk’s comments in the run-up to his purchase of the social media company have led many to believe the billionaire will restore Trump’s account and reinstate other users who have been banned for violating offensive or dangerous content rules.

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