‘Courtesy’ Musk: When Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal was escorted out of his own office
NEW DELHI: The world’s richest man, Elon Musk, has completed his $44 billion takeover of social media platform Twitter. “The bird is freed,” Musk said in a tweet, referencing Twitter‘s bird logo in an apparent nod to his desire to see the company have fewer limits on content that can be posted.
Musk is likely to take over the role of the Twitter CEO and plans to remove life bans imposed on many well-known personalties, Bloomberg news reported quoting sources. The billionaire is expected to remain CEO in the interim but may eventually cede the role in the longer term, the report said.
Musk is moving fast and has already sacked the top brass of Twitter: Departures include Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal; Vijaya Gadde, the head of legal, policy and trust; Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, who joined Twitter in 2017; and Sean Edgett, who has been general counsel at Twitter since 2012, according to people familiar with the matter.
The immediate sacking of Agrawal and other Twitter bosses was on expected lines. Since the day Musk made his public offer to acquire Twitter, he has been giving enough hints that its CEO Agrawal was unlikely to keep his job. But perhaps what was unexpected was the way some of the Twitter bosses were booted out from their offices. “Agrawal and Segal were in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out,” Reuters reported quoting sources.
Twitter, Musk and the executives are yet to issue an official statement on the firings.
‘Not on good terms’
Elon Musk and Parag Agrawal started off great but their relationship went south as the deal talks progressed.
A series of texts that were disclosed at Delaware court revealed that the two were cordial and excited to start working with each other, bonding over ‘engineering’ and their liking for Twitter but as dMusk started his due diligence in Twitter’s spam/bot accounts and voiced his opinions unabashedly on Twitter, the duo started falling out.
“Hey Elon – great to be connected directly. Would love to chat,” Agrawal texted on 27 March, according to the BBC. The filings show that Musk liked the message, following which the two arranged to meet at about 8pm.
“A few days later, on 31 March, they arranged to meet near San Jose, as momentum around the deal accelerated. A message to Musk from Bret Taylor, the chair of Twitter’s board, said the proposed location at an Airbnb near the airport, which he said was home to tractors and donkeys, was “the weirdest place I’ve had a meeting recently”. Afterwards, Agrawal said the dinner was “memorable for multiple reasons”, adding that he “really enjoyed it”,” reported the Guardian.
“I have a ton of ideas, but lmk if I’m pushing too hard,” Musk texted Agrawal on April 7, shortly after Twitter offered him the board seat. “I just want Twitter to be maximum amazing.”
Agrawal invited Musk to “treat me like an engineer” instead of a CEO as they worked through technical questions together. At one point, Musk wrote, “I love our conversations!”
On April 5, the decision to appoint Musk on board was announced. Musk replied to Agrawal’s tweet saying how he was excited to work with Twitter and Agrawal, to make significant improvements.
I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks,… https://t.co/zTYNBMiM3w
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) 1649161968000
But after exchanging pleasantries, suddenly on April 9 Musk publicly tweets “Is Twitter dying?” and got a message from Agrawal calling the criticism unhelpful. Musk tersely responded: “This is a waste of time. Will make an offer to take Twitter private.”
Two days after the blowup about Musk’s “Twitter dying” tweet, on April 11, Agrawal announced Musk would not be joining the board after all. On April 14, Twitter revealed in a securities filing that Musk had offered to buy the company outright for about $44 billion. After first trying to thwart the hostile takeover, Twitter ended up agreeing to the deal on April 25.
The text exchanges were included in redacted documents that Musk lawyers filed early Thursday after challenging a Twitter claim that they couldn’t be made public because they contained sensitive information. Several of the “public versions” of those Twitter documents contain wholesale redactions and are almost entirely blacked out. The documents containing the Musk and Agrawal texts, by contrast, were not.
The collection of text messages also includes Musk’s conversations with Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder and former CEO. Dorsey was enthusiastic about Musk’s involvement, telling him that while the board was “terrible,” Agrawal was an “incredible engineer.”
Overnight, the New York Stock Exchange notified investors it would suspend trading in shares of Twitter before the opening bell on Friday (local time) in anticipation of the company going private under Musk.
(With inputs from agencies)