The Sunday disclosure from Agrawal, who said last week that he had been engaging with Musk for “a few weeks” before announcing his appointment to the board, follows a series of unusual tweets from the SpaceX executive over the weekend in which he wondered aloud to his over 80 million followers if Twitter was dying, citing low frequency of tweets from some of the most popular personalities on the social network.
Musk also asked his followers if Twitter should convert its San Francisco headquarters into a homeless shelter, prompting a discussion that saw participation from a wide range of industry figures, including Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. The weekend tweets from Musk — who identified his investment in Twitter as “passive,” and, according to the timeline shared by Agrawal, had already decided to not join Twitter’s board — however, seemed to suggest that he is actively thinking about Twitter and leading conversations about the major steps the firm should undertake.
“We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”
“I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it,” Jack Dorsey, co-founder and former chief executive of Twitter, said on the news of Musk joining the Twitter board. “Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.” Dorsey has yet to comment on the new development.
“The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly,” Agrawal said in a tweet Sunday night. “We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward.”
The Twitter board previously believed it was for the best if Elon joined. Now they believe it's for the best that he withdrew.
Twitter has 11 board members, including Dorsey, Agrawal, Salesforce co-chief executive Bret Taylor, and Silver Lake co-chief executive Egon Durban.
Musk did not say why he was investing in the company, but the timing of the revelation followed him expressing concern about free speech and censorship on Twitter. Analysts at Bernstein, however, believed that Musk’s interest in Twitter was mainly personal.
“He joins 15+ other billionaires in media ownership, including Bezos with WaPo. We view the interest as a potential distraction for Musk and TSLA shareholders, given that Musk is arguably already over-committed, and his fervor for the topic of censorship/free speech is high,” they wrote in a note.
Over the weekend, Musk also suggested that Twitter should consider giving an authentication checkmark to anyone who subscribes to the company’s $3 monthly subscription service, Twitter Blue. “And no ads,” Musk said, outlining the features of Twitter Blue. “The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.”