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Elon Musk says 'I've hired a new CEO' for Twitter

In this photo illustration the Twitter account of Elon Musk is seen on a mobile cellphone on April 21, 2023 in Knutsford, United Kingdom.
Christopher Furlong
/
Getty Images
In this photo illustration the Twitter account of Elon Musk is seen on a mobile cellphone on April 21, 2023 in Knutsford, United Kingdom.

Elon Musk said he has chosen someone to succeed him as chief executive of Twitter, but he did not name the new boss.

"Excited to announce that I've a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!," Musk wrote on Twitter.

The announcement of a soon-to-be named replacement has been expected, as the billionaire has suggested repeatedly that he does not intend to lead the company permanently.

He said he will still oversee the company's product and software and serve as executive chairman and chief technology officer.

As is often the case with Musk, questions hang over the seriousness of his announcement. In April, Musk told the BBC that his dog was the new Twitter CEO.

Musk did not return requests for comment. Twitter's press office responded to emailed questions with its standard autoreply poop emoji.

In December, Musk floated the idea of stepping down as Twitter's CEO. He polled his Twitter followers and nearly 58% of respondents supported him leaving his role as the social media site's leader.

Since Musk took over Twitter, around 90% of its employees have been fired or have quit. He has saddled the company with debt, just as advertisers have fled in droves.

Musk himself has raised the possibility of bankruptcy if Twitter can not turn around its financial outlook.

Musk has ruled the embattled site erratically, making policy decisions that affect the whole platform on a whim and rapidly introducing a dizzying array of changes, including stripping users of "verified" blue check marks and allowing anyone to purchase a "verified" badge.

Notably, he reactivated former President Donald Trump's account, which had been "permanently suspended" for inciting violence after the Jan. 6 siege on the Capitol. He has welcomed back on the platform right-wing users and other controversial figures who had also been previously barred violating policies rules against harassment and violent speech.

It is unclear if Musk's successor will continue to carry out his mandate of relaxing content moderation rules and attempting to find new ways to generate revenue on the ailing platform.

Musk, who also leads Tesla and SpaceX, has faced criticism for neglecting his role at his other companies with Twitter consuming much of his attention.

The electric car company accounts for most of Musk's wealth, but investors of his other companies have complained that running Twitter has become a major distraction. Tesla's stock lost 65% of its value in 2022.

After the tweet promising a new Twitter CEO was posted, Tesla's stock price shot up, perhaps a sign that investors believe Musk may soon turn his focus back to Tesla.

In December, Tesla investor Ross Gerber told Tesla's board of directors to "wake up."

Gerber added in the tweet: "Who is running Tesla and when is Elon coming back?"

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bobby Allyn
Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.