Elon Musk Turns Down Twitter Board Seat, CEO Says ‘This Is for the Best’

Elon Musk Turns Down Twitter Board Seat, CEO Says ‘This Is for the Best’
Elon Musk gestures as he speaks during a press conference at SpaceX's Starbase facility near Boca Chica Village in South Texas on Feb. 10, 2022. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Naveen Athrappully

In a surprise announcement, Elon Musk turned down a seat on Twitter's board of directors, according to a recent post by the company CEO, while speculations abound on the rejection as Musk was increasingly vocal about bringing about changes on the platform.

After buying up enough stock that made him the biggest shareholder in the company, which warrants an invite for a seat, Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal said in a Sunday night post on Twitter, “Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer join the board. I believe this is for the best.”

Musk posted a hand-over-mouth smiley following Agarwal’s post.

The Tesla CEO's appointment to Twitter's board would have effectively capped his ability to own more than 14.9 percent of the company stock. When his filing was made public, the world’s richest man owned about $2.89 billion in Twitter stock, which is around 9.1 percent of the total company value.

Twitter shares rallied more than 25 percent following the announcement and it has now settled over 9 percent lower than the high set on April 5.

Before the announcement, Musk polled “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” and said, “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

Over 70 percent of respondents answered, “No.”

Musk has been critical of the platform and asked his 81-million followers what to do with Twitter’s San Francisco head office “since no one shows up anyway,” and took a poll on introducing an edit button.

Numerous conservative voices had called out to Musk to remove restrictions on free speech on the platform and reinstate former President Donald Trump's Twitter account.

"I hope you push for Twitter to reinstate everyone that they’ve banned over the past 5 years, including Trump. We need a real free speech giant to save the spirit of free speech in America," said Robby Starbuck, a congressional candidate for Tennessee's 5th district.

However, Musk’s intentions remain unclear at the moment.

“There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged,” Agrawal said in his note to Twitter staff. “Let's tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we're building.”

Among his many public musings, Musk suggested that Twitter's Blue subscribers, who pay $3 per month, have the ability to pay with Dogecoin, a currency that he has previously promoted. He also suggested keeping Twitter Blue free from advertisements.

“And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.”

Almost 90 percent of Twitter revenue comes from advertising.

Musk asked whether the social media company was dying after Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes called Twitter a “ghost town.”