Elon Musk is to resign as Twitter’s chief executive after the platform’s users voted for him to step down.
The tycoon pledged to stop leading the social media group, which he acquired in a $44 billion deal less than two months ago, “as soon as I find someone foolish enough” to take over.
Musk intends to retain oversight of the teams working on software and servers, however, in a clear sign that he wants to remain involved in its day-to-day operations. This raises the prospect of an unorthodox working arrangement with whoever takes his place.
His departure would draw a line under a brief, but remarkable, stint. Since the end of October, Musk has halved Twitter’s workforce by laying off several thousand staff, struggled to push through sweeping changes and leaked internal documents about previous decisions to a handful of journalists.
Twitter users voted decisively this weekend in a poll Musk, 51, set up on whether he should step down; 57.5 per cent of 17.5 million votes were cast in favour. Investors in Tesla, the electric carmaker he leads, have grown concerned that the social network has been distracting the billionaire from the rest of his empire. He also runs SpaceX, the rockets and satellites business.
“I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” he wrote in a tweet on Tuesday evening. “After that, I will just run the software & servers teams.”
Musk had suggested the poll’s results could have been manipulated, and agreed that only paying users of Twitter should be able to vote on its future direction.
His declaration that he plans to stand aside will heighten speculation about who could lead the network. Musk dismissed most of its previous top executives after completing his takeover.
Over the weekend, he suggested that identifying someone else to run the business would be a challenge. “No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive,” he wrote. “There is no successor.”