Twitter Shares Fall After Musk's Board Membership Reversal

Twitter Shares Fall After Musk's Board Membership Reversal
Elon Musk attends the opening ceremony of the new Tesla Gigafactory for electric cars in Gruenheide, Germany, on March 22, 2022. (Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters)
Tom Ozimek

Twitter shares fell nearly 4 percent in pre-market trading on April 11 after a surprise announcement by the company's CEO that Elon Musk would not, in fact, become a member of the social media giant's board of directors.

"Elon has decided not to join our board," Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced in a tweet late Sunday, while sharing an internal company note in which called Musk's decision "for the best."

"Elon's appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and always will value input from our shareholders whether they are on our board or not," Agrawal said in the note.

The Twitter CEO didn't specify why Musk, who recently bought enough Twitter stock to make him the company's biggest individual shareholder, had decided not to sit on its board, but Musk's appointment to Twitter's board would have limited his ability to own more than 14.9 percent of the company's stock.

At the time of reporting, Twitter shares were down 3.63 percent in pre-market trading, down $1.68 from the April 8 close of $46.23 to $44.55, according to Tradingview data.

Musk’s surprise move to take a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter and later news he was joining its board became one of the biggest tech stories in the past week, with the purchase announcement sending Twitter shares rallying more than 25 percent.

The move also fueled speculation around whether Musk might have plans to shake up the social media giant, whose commitment to free speech he has called into question.

Tweeting to his 80 million-plus followers on March 25, Musk wrote that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked his followers whether they believe Twitter “rigorously adheres” to this principle.

Over 2 million Twitter users weighed in, with 70.4 percent voting "no."

Twitter has been repeatedly accused of censoring some minority and politically conservative viewpoints, claims that the company denies.

News of Musk’s anticipated ascension to Twitter board member was met with calls from conservatives for him to chart a new course at the company.

Monica Crowley, former assistant secretary of the Treasury under Trump, said in a tweet, “Now that Elon Musk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, he should demand the end of political censorship, company-wide reform, and the reinstatement of President Trump.”
Twitter banned former President Donald Trump from the platform following the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, claiming his posts violated a glorification of violence policy.
Tom Ozimek is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times. He has a broad background in journalism, deposit insurance, marketing and communications, and adult education.